SHE’S the bird woman of Shaldon. 

Dawn Kiff has been befriended by a family of red-breasted robins who land on her head and even sing to her.

Dawn, who began working for Teignbridge Council as a cleansing operative in the village nine months ago, was spending time around Smuggler’s Tunnel when the robins began to pay her attention. 

Over the last month, the birds - now named Robby and Rosy - have been paying her regular visits and seem to know her routine. 

Dawn, who is now a familiar face in the village, has been sharing her experiences with locals by posting videos and photos on social media.

The robins have now become minor celebrities in Shaldon – with residents even volunteering to look after the family while Dawn goes on holiday.

It started when she began feeding the birds during her coffee breaks. 

Dawn said: ‘I first noticed them back in October when the leaves were coming down and I had to clean around the tunnel.

‘There’s a lot of wildlife up there, but the robins were sort of following me around. My mum passed away in September, so it came at a really nice time to be honest.

‘It was only about six weeks ago, so I decided to sit down before I went to go and clean the tunnel. I had a coffee and a croissant – and this little bird, that I’d called Rosy, sat next to me.

‘I thought she was very friendly, so I ripped off a bit of my croissant and put it down next to me and it ate it.

‘It just seemed to hang around, so I gave it a little bit more and it ate that and then flew off.

‘The next day, it was there waiting for me again. By the third day, it was landing on my boot, so I took my phone out to take a picture of it and it just stood there.

'By the fourth day, I’d managed to get it on my hand – it was a really quick process, and I was shocked.

‘I made it a little routine – once that happened, I made sure to take my breaks before and after I clean the tunnel.

‘It just got friendlier and friendlier, until another bird turned up – and it was feeding it!’

Dawn quickly realized that the bird she had been feeding was actually a male – and the bird he was feeding was his mate.

And she has now discovered they have their own family.

Dawn said: ‘I started to take pictures of them, because they were so tame, and I couldn’t believe it.

‘Some of the villagers, and they said I should put them on social media. The response I got was massive, I was really surprised.

“I carry seeds with me now, so I put a bit of seed on my head, and it landed on my head, grabbed it, and flew off to feed the chick.

‘The next thing I know, I was walking, and it landed on my head and started singing to me!’

Dawn Kiff, 58 with a robin. Release date – March 19 2024. See SWNS story SWLNrobin. A woman who began feeding robins while on her coffee breaks says they now land on her head, sing to her – and even know her routine. Dawn Kiff, 58, began working as a cleansing operative in Shaldon, Devon, nine months ago, spending a lot of time in and around the heavily forested Smuggler’s Tunnel as a result. But over the past month, she has become a familiar face in the village – after befriending a family of friendly robins during her coffee breaks. “I first noticed them back in October when the leaves were coming down and I had to clean around the tunnel,” said Dawn.
Dawn Kiff and her robin friend (Dawn Kiff / SWNS)