December 2, 2011, by Fraser

2 December: Robin red-breast

This beautiful illustration of a robin features in one of about 650 ornithological books that form part of the University’s Porter Collection. Out of all the birds in the extensive collection, the robin is by far the most heavily associated with the festive period – but why is that? And why exactly do we put them on our Christmas cards?

We spoke to the University’s resident expert Dr Robert Lambert and his fellow twitcher, executive producer Stephen Moss, to find out more about what the humble robin red-breast is really like…

If you can’t see the YouTube video, try this alternative location or view on iTunes U.

Dr Lambert is a lecturer in Tourism and the Environment at Nottingham University Business School. He has been involved in the making of a number of major natural history and wildlife television series including Birds Britannia and Making Scotland’s Landscape.

Stephen Moss is a BAFTA award winning television producer for BBC’s Springwatch. His other TV credits include Big Cat Diary and Birding with Bill Oddie. Stephen is also an Honorary Professor at University of Nottingham Business School and Vice President of Somerset Wildlife Trust.

All of the items featured in our e-Advent calendar are from the University’s historic library holdings, held in Manuscripts and Special Collections. For more information on the wide range of materials available, take a look at their website and blog or contact the curators on

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