Sunday, 7 March 2010

A Bird by any Other Names

The research this week brought to my attention the variety of local names in England used for some of our most common animals.
I was already aware the green woodpecker had at least two other names, traditionally called the yaffle (some might recall Professor Yaffle in the children's television series Bagpuss, he was a wooden woodpecker), it is known in some parts of Lincolnshire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire as the Nicker. However there are a great deal more names for this bird including: woodspite, rainfowl, rainbird, hewhole, whetile, woodwall, witwall, popinjay, awlbird, eaqual, ecle, pick-a-tree, yappingale, galley bird. heffald, high hoe, sprite, yaffingale, and yockle.

Other common birds with odd alternative names are the nightjar, also known as night hawk, goat sucker, wheelbird, dor hawk, fern owl, night crow, jar owl, churn owl, evechurr, nightchurr, puckeridge, and lich bird; the house sparrow becomes the common sparrow, gilpan, sproug, thatch sparrow, easing sparrow, eaves sparrow, spadger, spur, and thack sparrow; while the swift is also known as the bullfit, screech martin, anchor bird, black martin, collier, srew, devilling, horse martin, Jack-a-dell, mattock, and even as a Devil’s Bitch!

I shall be delving deeper into this subject in future weeks, so watch this space.

Before I go I was pleased to receive my latest book hot of the presses this week. Northamptonshire Place Names is my nineteenth published volume to date, if anyone would like a signed copy drop me a line and we can arrange to furnish you with same for a very reasonable price.

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