Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

– Emily Dickinson

The Cape Robin is one of the most familiar and easily identifiable birds in Swellendam and no local garden soundtrack is complete without the distinctive, three syllable, low alarm note of “wa-dur-dra”. The Afrikaans name for this bird, ‘Jan Frederik’ is based on the rhythm of this call.

The Robin’s song consists of varying short notes that always start with the low slurred whistle “cherooo-weet-weet-weeeet”. Keep an ear out for Robin’s song in your garden at dusk and dawn, that’s when they are most active. The Cape Robin-Chat is also a master of mimicking a large number of other bird songs, including cuckoos, mouse birds, bulbuls, thrushes, shrikes, starlings, sunbirds, white-eyes and canaries. Some chats have even been recorded mimicking the sounds of hooting cars. So you have to listen twice…

For more information follow the “peeps” at ♡ The Swellendam Twitcher!