Monday, 21 January 2008

At the KOS quiz a few days ago one of the questions I asked was what bird had the country name "Saw Sharpener", from places as far apart as Worcestershire and Norfolk.
Well it's the Great-tit and of course that name comes from the rather grating two note call of the male in spring. Other names alluding to this are "Saw Whetter", from Staffs and "Sharp Saw" from Norfolk. Another East Anglian name is "Joe Ben" or "Joe Bent" again coming from the two syllables and this time probably referring to biblical brothers. On the other hand the widespread name "Ox Eye"comes from the French "oeil de boeuf" a term for a small bird. This name was probably in use in the Norman times. The best way to remember the Great Tits call is that it always a form of "teacher teacher", that said it is also true that it has the widest repertoire of the British birds.

From Great Tit to Great Black-backed Gull. This is the world largest gull and it can swallow a Puffin, but compared to the Gull below its beak is quite trivial.

This is a Pacific Gull, in Australia, its overall size is just marginally larger that a Lesser Black-backed Gull, but it does have a massive beak.

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