A yellow robin lights up the gloom of a forest at dusk. Sometimes, when I’ve been working quietly in a forest, I sense a presence nearby. A tickle on the back of the neck, or a flicker of something half-seen. And it’s this still little yellow bird. Perched sideways on a stem, staring intently at the ground. Watching for a small movement in the leaf-litter below.
This is the yellow robin found on the eastern side of Australia – plump, with yellow from throat to tail. On either side are found other, half-yellow robins: to the east, the New Caledonian yellow robin, which has a slightly mournful air. To the west, the western yellow robin. Both have yellow bellies only, and I’ve always wondered: are they related? Did a western yellow robin go on a South Pacific holiday one day, and decide to stay?
But that is another story, for another day.