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Origins: Crow Scaring Songs

Joybell 18 Oct 03 - 06:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Oct 03 - 08:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Oct 03 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,.gargoytle 19 Oct 03 - 12:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Oct 03 - 12:14 PM
Joybell 19 Oct 03 - 07:35 PM
mg 19 Oct 03 - 11:13 PM
Bob Bolton 19 Oct 03 - 11:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Oct 03 - 11:56 PM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Oct 03 - 12:18 AM
Joybell 20 Oct 03 - 04:42 AM
Joybell 20 Oct 03 - 04:57 AM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Oct 03 - 09:38 AM
Dave Bryant 20 Oct 03 - 11:55 AM
Joybell 20 Oct 03 - 06:25 PM
Acme 20 Oct 03 - 07:23 PM
Joybell 20 Oct 03 - 08:10 PM
Bob Bolton 20 Oct 03 - 08:15 PM
Sorcha 20 Oct 03 - 08:46 PM
Joybell 20 Oct 03 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,Q 20 Oct 03 - 10:19 PM
Bob Bolton 20 Oct 03 - 11:28 PM
GUEST 20 Oct 03 - 11:43 PM
Acme 20 Oct 03 - 11:52 PM
Desert Dancer 20 Oct 03 - 11:56 PM
Joybell 21 Oct 03 - 06:01 PM
Joybell 21 Oct 03 - 06:30 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Oct 03 - 06:55 PM
Joybell 21 Oct 03 - 07:49 PM
Acme 21 Oct 03 - 08:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Oct 03 - 09:27 PM
Bob Bolton 21 Oct 03 - 10:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 03 - 12:24 AM
Bob Bolton 22 Oct 03 - 07:19 PM
Joybell 23 Oct 03 - 12:56 AM
Joybell 05 Nov 03 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,lady mondagreen 17 Jun 09 - 05:24 PM
Desert Dancer 18 Jun 09 - 11:29 AM
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Subject: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 18 Oct 03 - 06:57 PM

Does anyone know anything about the old crow scaring songs of the British Isles? There is a short entry about them in "The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes" Edited by Iona and Peter Opie.
I have always had a hunch that "The Blue-tail'd Fly" could have been derived from one of them. There are a few crow scaring songs in this book that are very similiar in content. My thoughs are buried in the thread about this song so I thought a new thread might be the way to go.
I am also interested in these songs quite apart from following the hunch.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Oct 03 - 08:42 PM

Just posted in the Blue tail thread that scarre crowes or scar-crows, both the figure and little boys, are mentioned in print ca. 1550, and that there ought to be some songs.
Any words in Opie that might lead to a title?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Oct 03 - 03:55 AM

Digression, but magpies or crows have long been a part of folklore. There is a counting rhyme based on seeing crows. It may tie in with the song(s) subject Joybell is seeking.

One is for bad news
Two is for mirth
Three is a wedding
Four is a birth
Five is for riches
Six is a thief
Seven is a journey
------------------
The following were made up and added in a book by Heidi Holder, artist:

Eight is for grief
Nine is a secret
Ten is for sorrow
Eleven is for love
Twelve is for joy tomorrow.

Heidi Holder got the first seven from her grandfather and never discovered anything about the origin.
Anyone ever heard of this rhyme?

Heidi Holder, 1987, "Crows, An Old Rhyme." Farrar Strauss Giroux, NY.
A beautiful book. Also see her "Aesop's Fables."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: GUEST,.gargoytle
Date: 19 Oct 03 - 12:01 PM

There was a short thread http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=22242#240399



Sincerely,

Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Oct 03 - 12:14 PM

Longer version at 21135: blackbird


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 19 Oct 03 - 07:35 PM

Thank you Q and Gargoyle. There are quite a few fragments of songs in Opie. There is a reference to James Orchard Halliwell's collection's of nursery rhymes, and I really should try to find his books. The Opie's say that: "Whether they (crow-scaring songs) were considered to be nursery rhymes before JOH included them in his collection is doubtful..."
I have seen the rhyme that you mention.
I have a reference in Opie to the Crow being called "John Crow" but so far nothing to confirm my father's statement that "Jim Crow" was a name for the Crow.
Another digression - there is a magpie on my head but she's no help.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: mg
Date: 19 Oct 03 - 11:13 PM

I remember someone in Newfoundland..who was from England..doing the blackbird I'll have ye..or something..chant or song...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 19 Oct 03 - 11:47 PM

G'day Q,

To re-digress: Margaret Walters (who does, occasionally look into the Mudcat's murky depths) - and Roaring Forties, in Sydney sing a song I presumed to be an old English one, which has the chorus:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl and
Four for a boy.
Five for silver,
Six for gold.
Seven for a secret ... never told.
Devil, Devil, I defy thee -
Devil, Devil, I defy thee.

The verses talk of keeping up the old bird-counting / divination practices, despite condemnation by the Priest.

Whoops - I just tried the words "Devil, I defy thee" in the DigiTrad ... and found The Magpie ... (... Check the DT first ... Check the DT first ... Check the DT first ... !).

I guess the subject of this sort of song depends on what sort of big black bird lives round your way.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Oct 03 - 11:56 PM

Probably right, Bob. Magpies were common in northern Europe, and scarce to absent on the Atlantic seaboard of North America. The crow replaced it in some of the songs.
The magpie was resident in North America, but west of the Rockies and to the northwest. Lewis and Clark ran across them and brought one back with them. Of the animals that returned with them, only the magpie and a prairie dog survived (Gee, this thread is made for digression).

The first two lines of the song sung by Walters are essentially the same as those in the rhyme by Holder, quoted above. Both probably from the same origin.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 12:18 AM

Songs that refer specifically to conflicts between "old" and "new" religions are almost always modern. Often, as in this case, they incorporate material from genuine tradition; as a consequence they immediately appear on websites all over the world as "ancient pagan" songs. Oh well.

Round my way we have mostly magpies. Narrow streets of terraced houses, and lots of cats. The cats have eaten the majority of the smaller birds (the ones the magpies didn't get) so it's pretty much a stand-off between the two communities at present. If the cats could fly, the magpies would be in real trouble; nobody would especially regret that, I think, but there are also bats to consider, and my local bat eats a lot of the local gnats, which would otherwise be doing their best to eat me (in very small instalments).

Seriously, though; can you give us a few page references in ODNR, Joybell, just to get us started? The Opies took an interesting approach to indexing which is very helpful in some respects, but completely useless if one is trying to search by subject.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 04:42 AM

Yes the Opie book is very frustrating in many ways isn't it. The crow-scaring songs are in there with the other bird songs under the unhelpful title of "Birds". Page number is 83 and the section number is 49. The edition was published in 1992 by The Softback Preview (with permission of Oxford University Press) - it says.
There is some very interesting information about these songs as the occupation songs of children. I had never come across idea of children's work songs before and I'm hooked. Thank you for your help.
We have bats and Australian Magpies here and a ban on free-ranging cats. We are not in town though so it's easier to make the rules.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 04:57 AM

Oh and Mary, a friend of ours, from Somerset originally, sings that blackbird song. The rhymes only work properly in dialect but my True-love can fake it pretty well too although he's American. It's a funny little song. It might even fit here somewhere with the bird-scaring songs.
Also a bit of a digression but Bob do you have Black-backed Magpies? or White-backed? or both? 'round your way.
And another for Q - The actor J L Toole took an Australian magpie back home with him to England in 1890 where it lived for a long time in his garden insulting all his guests. None of ours have ever talked! but they are known to be able to.
                                           Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 09:38 AM

There is some material on "crow-keeping" in East Anglia in George Ewart Evans' book The Farm and the Village (Faber, 1969, chapter 5: 'The Growing Corn'). One rhyme (a chant rather than a song) is quoted:

"As soon as it was light the farmer sent the child out into the fields; and there the child remained while it was still light. Mrs Celia Jay (born 1883) of Blaxhall gave me an account of how she went crow-keeping at the end of last century:

'My father was a shepherd for Mr John Goddard of Tunstall; and I would go out to scare rooks and crows on Mr Goddard's fields. My father made me a pair of wooden clappers and I used to rattle these and call out:
Cadows and crows,
Take care of your toes.
For here come my clappers
To knock you down back'uds.
Holla ca-whoo! Ca-whoo!

Here come a stone
To break your back-bone:
Here come the farmer with his big gun
And you must fly and I must run.
Holla ca-whoo! Ca-whoo!
[Cadows are jackdaws, a word used by Thomas Tusser in the sixteenth century.]

'It was very lonely work, and I was often perished with cold before the end of the day. If I stopped making a noise, someone from the farm would soon be along to see what I was doing.' "


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 11:55 AM

These days farmers could probably do with someway of scaring off Canada Geese - they can strip a field much faster than crows and are much more bolshie if you try to shift them. It's a pity that they're not very good eating otherwise the'd be worth the cartridges.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 06:25 PM

Thanks Malcolm, That's just the sort of information I am after. It looks as though the ones in Opie are chants too, rather than songs, but the line between the too is blurred isn't it. I just thought about rhymes like "Little Boy Blue" and "Magery Daw" but they seem to be about working children rather than songs sung by the workers themselves.
Dave, that's a problem everywhere isn't it. Here crop farmers compete with cockatoos, corellas and galahs. The worry is that with nesting sites (tree-hollows) getting scarce our parrot flocks might be mostly older birds - they can live to 100 years- and we won't know when they've passed the point of no return. Geese are bigger but cockies are pretty smart and persistant.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Acme
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 07:23 PM

There are crows in the part of Texas where I live, but the predominant bird from that family is the grackle, which has a local reputation for being smart and messy. And this time of year they roost in downtown in great swarms that leave the town at about 6:30 every evening and fly out to the neighborhoods where they roost in your trees if you don't rout them. Scarecrows wouldn't work, but noisemakers are very effective. Can't say that I've heard any local songs about them.

But to the subject at hand. I have poked through several of my father's books, and find that there may well be songs (and stories) that use these kinds of counting phrases or curses against birds, but it isn't likely to turn up in the index unless the entire song is on this subject (like you suggest is the case with the Blue-tailed Fly). Good luck searching for more songs that include bits (a silly verse or chorus) that fit your search--I suspect it is going to take simply sitting down and reading through extensive sections of books to find references to the negative attitudes or actions about birds. Out of curiosity I pulled a couple of books out and scanned them. Found myself sitting and reading B.A. Botkin's A Treasury of Southern Folklore (North Carolina Edition). Nothing germane to your query in my brief reading, only the realizaton that it is easy to get sidetracked during the search.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 08:10 PM

Stilly River Sage, I just got hold of copies of several of Botkin's books including the one you mention. I'll take a look through them. And yes I'm always getting wonderfully sidetracked. Finding kindred spirits is so great. My current exercise is the result of a sidetrack - some years ago now, and it's just for my own interest.   It was one of those lightbulb flashes that had me thinking - "Jimmy crack corn and I don't care, Master's gone away!" sounds so much like some of the crow-scaring songs.
Grackles - I'll get out my American bird book and get sidetracked there for a while. Thanks it all helps.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 08:15 PM

G'day Joybell,

" ... bit of a digression but Bob do you have Black-backed Magpies? or White-backed? or both? 'round your way."

I live in Sydney - and we have Black-backed Magpies (which eat the eggs of most smaller birds ... but smaller native species are making something of a comeback as more native trees supplant European/American "ferals"!). My understanding is that Black-backed Magpies are the "eastern" race - from the Pacific coast to the Blue Mountains - and the White-backed Magpies are found west of the Divide.

I guess I would trim that to "west of the Blue Mts" (not quite the same thing) - especially after last weekend when I was at the home of friends in Clarence, just before you descend to Lithgow. There is a resident young Black-backed Magpie (a fallen nestling rescued by Helen, who is a WIRes carer - mostly for macropods, but also for birds and bats). This one has a few problems ... he can't decide whether he is a Currawong or a dog - producing both Currawong song ... and strange dog noises when he raids the dogs' bowls! (He also manages an approximation of Magpie song!) Anyway, when I went down to Lithgow on Saturday morning, I immediately noticed that the local Magpies were White-backed species ... so the western slopes of the Blue Mts seems to be the dividing line.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Sorcha
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 08:46 PM

Here in south eastern Wyoming we have crows, magpies and grackles. Police used to shoo off the grackles using shot guns (noise, not killing them) because they carry encephalitis. Crows and other birds carry West Nile Virus. Personally, I like crows and magpies. Wish I could have a pet crow, but very forbidden.Also, lots of stuff in old Irish lit. about prophesying by crows. If anyone is interested, I have some and will post it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 08:52 PM

OK Bob, We have a mixture but the white-backed ones predominate. I am attached to several wild-life carers as a sort of supervised helper taking the easier birds like magpies and releasing them on our little farm. The native birds are making quite a good recovery as we replace the introduced plants with local native ones. I'm about to look up Grackles. I love the way music and other subjects mingle here. Regards Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 10:19 PM

The Australian black and white "magpie," (Gymnorhina tibicen,) is not a magpie but superficially resembles the black and white American magpie, (Pica pica). They don't even belong to the same family.
The true magpie is a holarctic genus (all around the northern hemisphere), but there are a number of species, all typically black and white, from western Europe, (Pica caudata), across Russia, northern Asia to Japan and North America).

Crows are similarly confused with other black birds, of which there are a number of unrelated forms, all confused by the non-birder.

I suppose the average farmer, world-wide, doesn't give a damn about their relationships- they are all just competitors for food.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 11:28 PM

G'day Q,

Yes, I was contemplating mentioning to those - beyond Australian shores - that our magpie was totally different bird. To drift back towards music, one of the problem we have is with poems/song lyrics that mention the pretty warbling song of the magpie ... apparently not a noticeable feature of the northern bird!

All of our long-term resident "crows" are technically ravens - although the distinction isn't apparent until you get in close enough to examine the bases of their feathers. Apparently true crows, from India, have "stowed away" on ships in more recent years - and are establishing themselves in some coastal areas.

Our other big black native birds are Currawongs (strepera spp.) and they usually have white patches on their wings ... but there are totally black currawongs in Tasmania. Currawongs have an even more melodious call - very pleasant in the morning (except when they are calling in their mates, because they have forced their way into your camping supplies ... and have just eaten the sausages ... the soap ... and are considering the candles!)

Actually, I was puzzled for years about how they got into the back of my Subaru station wagon at Mt Kaputar National Park ... since then I have discovered that brushtail possums can open unlocked back hatches, by pushing upwards on the latching bar. I caught one in the act ... shooed it off, retrieved my biscuits and locked the hatch. Ten minutes after I retired to my tent, I heard him come back and express displeasure at no longer being able to open the door!

Regards,

Bob Bolton

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 11:43 PM

Colorado is more full of crows and WestNileVirus than any other state. It is a good reason to scare the vermon away. How could they ever been designated a "song bird" and engendered "sacred status" protected from the fast end of a 22 rifle?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Acme
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 11:52 PM

The difference between the (northwestern) crows and ravens in North America is difficult from a distance if you don't have a way to judge the relative size, but when viewed through glasses or close enough to see the sheen on the feathers, I've always thought ravens were a bluer-black than crows, and they're a heckuva lot bigger. The tail is different. Crows in the northwest are apparently smaller than some others, so perhaps I saw a larger contrast--I haven't seen any ravens around here in order to make such comparisons. Grackles are a more diminuative member of that family (though I don't find them on this list I've linked to).

SRS


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 11:56 PM

Guest, I sincerely doubt your crows are designated "endangered," but all bird species that occur in the U.S. are protected by the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, unless hunting is specifically permitted (as for the game species).

Drifting about...

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 06:01 PM

Thanks Q and Bob for the comments about the difference between the Australian magpies and such. Bob we have a mutual friend who can do Australian magpie imitations. I have never heard anyone else who could do it. The closest way to describe it is that it's a sort of yodel. The other characteristic of our magpies is their strange behaviour. All birds play, especially when young, but our magpies carry play to extremes. I collected the "games" of magpies and presented the work as a mock-serious collection. It doesn't mean much to any but an Australian but it's a bit of fun. I'll see if it's still on-line and get back for anyone who's interested.
As for the folklore of big black birds - Woden with his pair of ravens must surely have played a major part.
Here farmers call all ravens (there are 3 types)"crows" or "damn crows". As Bob says the real crows are not common. As to calling anything that competes with humans - or is thought to compete - "vermin" that applies here too, to anything from rabbits and foxes (that really are) to kangaroos and cockatoos, all the rodents - native and introduced - vegetarian and carnivorous. Oh dear!   
Bob, possums are not as dumb as they seem are they?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 06:30 PM

Can't seem to make the link work for "Magpie Games". Someone cleverer than me could probably manage it. it's:
                                                                              ttp//:simplyaustralia.mountaintracks.com.au./issue4


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 06:55 PM

What you want is  http://simplyaustralia.mountaintracks.com.au/issue4/index4.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 07:49 PM

Thanks Malcolm, I thought I tried all the bits, I'll keep up the practice.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Acme
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 08:48 PM

Joybell, you must be British--you dropped your "H" in that address!

:)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 09:27 PM

Saw a couple of articles recently about the Australian bird fighting back and scaring humans. Also saw somewhere that the Aussie magpie is an immigrant from New Zealand.
Has anyone from down below put "The Magpies" in Mudcat?
I'll just put the first verse here:

When Tom and Elizabeth took the farm
The bracken made their bed,
And Quardle oodle-ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said.

?Denis Glover


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 10:41 PM

G'day<

Joybell:
I think I had sort of skimmed past your "Magpie Games" item on Valda's (Roo's) Simply Australia web site ... I should not have - it is hilarious.

I did see Greg (O) at Forbes, back over the October Labour Day Weekend ... I'll have to ask him for his magpie calls next time I see him!

Q:
I tried searching for Denis Glover's poem The Magpies ... but the only hit that seemed to actually have the words was not talking to me. Perhaps someone else can find (incidentally, it seemed to have more links in Australian sites than his native New Zealand!).

I can't say I've ever heard the NZers claim the Magpie ... they pinch anything else that's not chained down - selling our Waratahs as "Kiwi Roses" goes a bit beyond mere chutzpah!

(And they were the silly beggars that imported our Brushtailed Possums ... to found a fur trade industry ... and are looking likely to wipe out their entire national forests as a result.)

BTW: I'm fairly certain that I've heard Glover's words set as a song - but it was a while back ... and I don't have anything more than a passing memory of the lines you quote - especially that glorious phoneticisation of the magpie's call. If anyone has a workable link to the Glover word - and any song version - I would also appreciate it.

Oh yes - if, by "fighting back", you mean the aggressive protection that magpies give their nest and/or territory that is well known. There are some places where, in nesting season, the popular headgear runs to plastic ice-cream containers worn as safety helmets - often with big glaring eyes texta-coloured onto the back to try and scare off the aerial bombardment.

These more-correct days I can't recommend my approach, back when I was living at Khankoban while working on Murray 2 dam, in the Snowy Mts Hydro Scheme: When I wandered out of quarters on Sundays off, I carried a .22" starting pistol in my pocket - and kept the corner of my eye on the resident aerial raider. Just as it neared the back of my head, I would swing up the pistol and discharge a blank or two in the vicinity of the bombarding magpie ... I can't honestly say that it had much of the desired effect of discouraging the blighters ... but it was fun ... at the time (~ 36 years ago).

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 12:24 AM

Lyr. Add: THE MAGPIES
Denis Glover

When Tom and Elizabeth took the farm
The bracken made their bed,
And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said.

Tom's hand was strong to the plough
Elizabeth's lips were red,
And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said.

Year in year out they worked
While the pines grew overhead,
And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said.

But all the beautiful crops soon went
To the mortgage man instead,
And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said.

Elizabeth is dead now (it's years ago);
Old Tom went light in the head;
And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said.

The farm's still there.
Mortgage corporations
Couldn't give it away.
And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The Magpies said.

The Magpies
Sorry, no music found.

Our magpie, Pica hudsonia, has a large variety of squawks, beeps, clucks and a very raucous Scree-Scree-Scree in addition to a fair repertoire of the calls of other birds. A pair will enjoy teasing cats and dogs. Their reputation is worse than their actions. They are blamed for robbing nests (rare) and are often shot at but they persist.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 07:19 PM

G'day Q,

I'm afraid our Austral(as)ian Magpies (gymnorhina tibicen - et al) have been scientifically fingered as robbing nests. Sydney University researchers left dummy eggs, with a malleable surface, in nests about the Sydney suburbs ... and later examined them for beak marks. The overwhelming majority of beak marks could be clearly identified as magpie.

Formerly, it was the slightly larger currawongs (strepera spp.) that were blamed for the loss of smaller (songbird) species in the suburbs. I suspect that the main reason that more plantings of native species of tree have reversed that trend is that many of the native trees have dense twiggy foliage that permits the small birds to nest in spots with good cover and difficult access to larger birds.

BTW: Just try to counter the ornithological thread drift away from music, I have (somewhere in my records) and assortment of tunes written from, or based on, the songs of Australian magpies and related species, such as butcher birds. This was an article I published in Mulga Wire many years back. I must dig it out and hear how they sound.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 12:56 AM

Thanks Bob, It was fun writing "Magpie Games" and it got me quite a few letters from around the country.
As to the aggressive swooping of our maggies, only some males do it and never for long each Spring. We have one who patrols our road from a telegraph pole for about a month during nesting season. Funny thing is that we quite familiar friends of his are the only people who walk along the road - and his wife's nest is way down the paddock far from the road. We are allowed to go right up to it.
Stilly River Sage, Ho! yes so hI did. My roots must be showing. They only go down 160 years here and it's an old, old country. It takes longer I think.
Sorcha, Could you post a new thread about crow prophesying it sounds interesting but it is in danger of getting swamped here. My farmer neighbour used to give me predictions about the weather,hinting at animal connections, but he finally admitted that they came from the evening television news.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 07:04 PM

Back to crow-scaring songs.
ref The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes Opie:

From "The History of Little King Pippin" c1786
Away,away, John Carrion Crow!
Your master hath enow
Down in his barley mow.

From "The Boy's Country Book 1839
We've ploughed our land, we've sown our seed,
We've made all neat and gay;
So take a bit, and leave a bit,
Away, birds, away!

From "The Nursery Rhymes of England" James Orchard Halliwell 1842
O you little blackety-tops,
Pray don't eat my father's crops,
While I lay down to take a nap,
Shu-a-O! Shu-a-O!
If my father he by chance should come
With his cock'd hat and his long gun
Then you must fly and I must run,
Shu-a-O! Shu-a-O!

From JOH 1949
Awa', birds, awa',
Take a peck. And leave a seck,
And come no more today.

From JOH 1853
Eat, birds, eat, and make no waste,
I lie here and make no haste;
If my master chance to come,
You must fly and I must run.

From Northamtonshire Glossary A E Baker 1854
Away, away, away birds;
Take a little bit and come another day birds;
Great birds, little birds, pigeons and crows,
I'll up with my clackers and down she goes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: GUEST,lady mondagreen
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 05:24 PM

I know this is a really old thread but as no-one else had mentioned it, there are 4 fantastic bird scaring songs in a book called The Painful Plough: A Portrait of the Agricultural Labourer in the Nineteenth Century from Folksongs and Ballads and Contemporary Accounts edited by Roy Palmer. Highly recommended if you can get hold of a copy.
All 4 songs have really distinctive lines of vocables which look like they could be related to ancient british animal call words as documented by David Thomas in his book Animal Call Words (Carmarthen, 1939).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 11:29 AM

lady mondagreen if you'd post them here, we'd love to see them.

~ Becky in Tucson


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