CORN BUNTING

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

The Corn Bunting, though it has much de­clined in re­cent years, has been such a fa­mil­iar bird that it has ac­cu­mu­lated a host of lo­cal names. Per­haps the most colourful is the Orkney name skit­ter-broltie, which trans­lates as one who defe­cates on braithes, which are the cross ropes over a corn stack, ap­par­ently. This ar­che­typal bunting is also the orig­i­nal bird to bear that name, which has its ori­gins since be­fore 1300AD (per­haps even pre1200ad). Bunting prob­a­bly de­rives from buntin mean­ing plump, as in Bye, Baby Bunting. One York­shire name for the bird is Corn Blob! There is also a the­ory of its ori­gin com­ing through the Ger­man bunt mean­ing speck­led. Ac­cord­ing to Birds Bri­tan­nica, Shet­land (where the bird no longer lives) had a wide range of names for the bird, in­clud­ing docken sparrow, docken fool, trussy lave­rock, shurl, titheree, corn­bill, corn-tief and, per­haps most bizarrely, song thrush… The Corn part of the Corn Bunting’s name, of course, ap­plies to its long as­so­ci­a­tion with arable farms. It is still found most fre­quently on open farm­land, though, now in much re­duced num­bers.

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