1. quotetheunquote says

    Reminds me of years ago, when I first started bird-ringing as a volunteer here in Ontario.

    As I was arriving at the remote station where I would be working (far out on a sand spit on Lake Eire), a German volunteer was just leaving after a short stay. This volunteer had only been in Canada for about a week at that point, and so was still getting familiar with N.A. birds. Someone asked her what kinds of birds had been around recently, and she said that they had mostly been catching “many Common Crackles.” For some reason, we thought this sounded funny, but appropriate, and between my wife and I, we’ve been calling them “Crackles” ever since.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    Love the pompousness and and level of the shiny details.

    Grackel is certainly simpler than purppuraturpiaali, also safer to say with a wet mouth.

  3. rq says

    Ice Swimer/b>
    Not too wet a mouth, alternatively -- not too close to your conversation companion. Also, not sure what the turpiaali part means, but I’m pretty sure purppura means “purple” (or similar shade).

    In Latvian it’s called pusvārnis, sometimes parastais pusvārnis -- half-crow, or common half-crow. I find it interesting that crow (vārna) is feminine, while half-crow (pusvārnis) takes the masculine ending.
    But then, raven (krauklis) and jackdaw (kovārnis -- what-crow) are also masculine, so maybe “crow” is the outlier here…

  4. Ice Swimmer says

    It seems the Icterid family is called Turpiaalit (the plural of turpiaali, troupial, which seems to be turpial in Spanish). And yes, purppura is purple. The genus Quiscalus is according to Wikipedia Mölyturpiaalit (noisy or noise troupials).

    Vārnis isn’t that far away from the Finnish word for crow, varis, though they may not be related words, it’s vares in Estonian (and also in some Finnish dialects).

  5. rq says

    Interesting. A common (though not popular) boys’ name is Varis, which usually tends to be translated as “one who can” or “the capable” (from the verb varēt, “to can” (I mean, “to be able to” ;) )). But I wonder if there’s a linguistic tie to the finno-ugric languages. After all, there are the Livs…

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