Robins in Scotland battle for survival
EDINBURGH, Scotland (UPI) -- Robins, icons of the Christmas season, don't practice peace and goodwill with each other and often turn murderous toward their own kind, U.K. researchers say
Experts with Scottish Natural Heritage said the festive songbirds think nothing of bumping off their rivals to ensure they get their beaks on enough food to survive, The Scotsman reported Thursday
About one robin in 10 is killed by another bird of the same species as both males and females enter into vicious battles over territory and food, a wildlife expert said
"Traditional images of peaceful robins adorn our Christmas cards at this time of year, but this harmless-looking bird is actually a territorial terror," said Tom Cunningham, reserve manager at Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve. "As well as defending territory during mating, they will often fight other robins, sometimes to the death, over scarce food resources in winter"
Heavy snows sweeping across Scotland have buried their usual food supplies, he said
"A lot of birds and animals are starving this winter," he said. "It's not surprising that they're fighting each other for what they can get -- it's survival of the fittest at the moment. They really are territorial creatures
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