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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Fourth Day of Christmas - Calling Birds?

Kawartha Lakes Mums - Wondering About Those Calling Birds? 

On the fourth Day of Christmas, My true love gave to me - four ... You might be surprised!
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What is a calling bird or is this fourth gift something else? Curious?
image Kawartha Lakes Mums 12 Days of Christmas - 4 Colley Birds
12 Days of Christmas - 4 Colley Birds
Also on Kawartha Lakes Mums
- 12 Days of Christmas - Un Perdrix Joil
Here's what we discovered.

Fourth Day of Christmas - True Love Gift

Foy years our family has been singing:
On the Fourth Day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Four calling birds,
Three French Hens,
Two Turtle Doves,
And a Partridge in a Pear tree.
You too?
So far we've discovered these lyrics are close , but no cigar. So what of these four calling birds?
In the original French Partridge song about the 12 Months of the Year, the  fourth gift is 
"Quat' canards volant en l'air" - Four ducks flying in the air."
The first English version from 1780 lists 
Four Colley birds, 
as the fourth gift. Colley birds or Collie birds are a colloquial term for birds as black as coal - the common blackbird.
Common Black Bird - Traditional fourth Day of Christmas Gift
 Even in the early days of The 12 Days of Christmas the colloquial term was misunderstood, and Calling birds soon came to replace Colly birds. Calling birds are not such a leap of the imagination as  you can hear in this recording of a male Colly bird.

Common Blackbirds

Common Blackbirds were put to uncommon uses, such as placing live under a piecrust just before serving, as in the rhyme Sing a Song of Six Pence where four and twenty blackbirds were supposedly baked in a pie. 
Blackbirds form strong bond pairs and will usually remain together as long as their mate survives. Therefore, it is understandable that two pair of these black as coal birds might be given by a true love as a symbol of their affection.
Growing up a stone's throw from water just about anywhere here in the beautiful City of Kawartha Lakes, we were treated to the trills of a different black bird - the red-winged blackbird. This is one thing I truly missed whenever I had to  live somewhere else. To me, nothing else signalled spring quite like the trill of a red winged Blackbird in the marsh. Let me see if I can find a recoding for you and post it here.

Fourth Day of Christmas Gifts

So what might you give your true love on the fourth day of Christmas? Here are some craft ideas we discovered.
Renée at Attack of the Hungry Monster has a great tutorial on creating this Blackbird Art. You cold use old newsprint or even sheet music as the background.
Blackbird-Art -Attack of the Hungry Monster

A set of 4 Black Bird Mug rugs might be a suitable gift. this Mug Rug pattern from Craftsy  could be personalized with names or the verse embroidered around the edge.
Blackbird Mug Rug - Craftsy Pattern
This next Blackbirds Mug Rug pattern really spells out your love. You could gift a pair of these.
Loving Blackbirds Mug Rug Pattern  - Craftsy
Wouldn't a line of these cheery blackbirds look splendid along a pillowcase edging, an apron, or even a kitchen valance, or how about on overall pockets? How would you use this template?
Kip & Fig Blackbird Template on Craftsy
This  free pattern and tutorial for paper blackbirds from Denmark is adorable and they could be used to decorate a present - perhaps a box of black licorice?
Blackbirds Looped Paper craft on Bjørnemor
What gift would you give your true love for the fourth day of Christmas?
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Related Links
"Blackbird tree" by John Arundel - Own work (Own photo). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
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1 comment:

  1. What ideas do you have for the fourth day of Christmas gifts?


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