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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in birds
White Storks in European Traditions and Stories

"I know the pond in which all the little children lie, waiting till the storks come to take them to their parents."

-Hans Christian Andersen, "The Storks"

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    The local library used to have a book called Australia Dreaming. If I remember correctly it mentioned that the spirits of the unb

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the Summer Migrants

According to the internet, ‘one swallow does not a summer make’ is a quote that can be attributed to Aristotle. The connection between summer and swallows is clearly a longstanding one. British swallows winter in South Africa. Or, arguably, South African swallows come to the UK to breed. There are many other birds whose migration to the UK at this time of year is part of the coming of summer.

Swifts, swallows and house martins aren’t always easy to tell apart in flight, and at twilight when they hunt for insects, telling them apart from bats can also be tricky. It’s the way the hunter is obliged to follow their prey through the air that means insect eating birds and bats are similar. There’s a rather (accidentally) amusing poem by D.H. Lawrence in which the poet is rather upset that his birds turn out to be bats. You can read that here - https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44574/bat

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
KIWI: Sacredness of Being Contrary

Unable to fly, the kiwi probes about the forest floor looking for tasty bugs. The sensitive hairs around her bill help Her to sense the underground movements of worms. Also, at the end of her curved beak are nostrils for smelling. (This is unusual in birds).

This plump little bird has many features similar to mammals. Like the badgers, She lives in a series of underground burrows that She has dug. In addition, her bristly feathers resemble soft mammal fur. Furthermore unlike other birds, the kiwi has two working ovaries.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Birds and the Elements

Hummingbird (Ruby-Throated): Fire
The Aztecs of Mexico regarded the ruby-throated hummingbird as a warrior. Despite the ruby-throated hummingbird’s delicate appearance, she is a bold, quarrelsome bird who will readily attack any intruder that strays into her territory. With the frenzied beating of her wings, the ruby-throated hummingbird will defend herself with her long beak.

Quail (Old World): Fire
Thought of as stout little birds, Old Word quails are remarkable for their hardiness. When Old Word quails are cold, they form star-shaped bevies (flocks) to receive warmth from each other. For the Chinese, Old Word quails were the Fire Phoenix of Spring and Summer. Among the Hindus, these birds represented the returning Sun.
(Note: Old World quails belong to the pheasant family, while New World quails are in their own Family. They are only distantly related, and are not the same species.)

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Magic of Names


The Exeter Book is a collection of medieval poetry from the late tenth century written down by a single scribe. Amongst other treasures, it contains almost a hundred riddles. If you think of medieval monks as pious and devoted -- well, for one thing, you've probably not read Chaucer! Many of the riddles are bawdy and full of double entendres, just like the songs the monks would sing. 

Much of our casual information about life in the Middle Ages comes texts like these: details of natural phenomena or the habits of birds. Riddle 68 is particularly delightful not only for the vivid depiction of the magpie, but also the embedding of the runic puzzle of its name which adds an additional challenge to the reader. 'Hiroga' the Anglo-Saxon name for magpie is only apparent once you unscramble the runic letters.  

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE: Defense of Home

Although, they share a common name, the Australian magpie is NOT a relative of the magpie of the Crow Family. The Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) is a relative of the currawong. Found only in Australia, this bird is among one of the most common of local birds there. The Australian magpie tends to live in one place in a large group.

The Australian magpie has a complex social structure. He lives either in a tribe of about two to ten birds or in a flock of many birds. The difference between the two is that a tribe has a breeding territory. Members of his tribe defend their territory from all other magpies. Australian magpies who are members of flocks are usually birds who were unable to join a tribe. These birds do not breed until they join a tribe. When an Australian magpie is about two years old, He is forced out of the territory of his birth tribe and must look for another tribe to join. The only way that an Australian magpie can join a tribe is when another bird leaves.

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Winged-Ones: Living in the Moment

Birds fascinate people. Many people set out feeders to attract birds to their gardens. Others travel long distances to spot a particular bird. People watch birds fly, perch in trees, and sing to each other. What is it about birds that draw humans to them? Many will tell you they love birds for the joy they bring.

Birds teach living in the moment. A flash of brightly colored feathers, then they are gone. The sight of a condor soaring in the sky makes people pause and watch. Crows amuse on-lookers with their antics. A lonely call of the loon fills those who hear with longing. Constantly in motion, birds teach humans to live in the moment.

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