Apr 18, 2008

Wagtail prediction

One sign of spring around here is the return of the migratory bird, the white wagtail. It's a pretty common sight here in the summer, and it has a striking monochrome coloring, and that characteristic and cute flipping of the tail that gives it its English name. In Norwegian, it's called "linerle".

There is a superstition associated with the bird. Basically, you need to take note of where you see your first wagtail of the year. If on stoney ground, you'll have an unfavorable year. If on grass, you'll have a prosperous year. I know that superstitions should never take the place of good ol' common sense (and personal effort), and besides it's all just chance where the bird happens to be just when you happen to spot it, but I do take note. You never know, right?

I started making a note of where I see my first wagtail after I heard about it being a portent. So two springs in a row, I saw the bird on rock. First time was on a brick sidewalk (dumb bird had to hang around the mall just as I walked by, didn't it) and I assume that brick is a sort of rock; the following year I spotted the bird on the look-out rock by the pond. The black-and-white-and-gray bird looked good on the gray rock, which was nice; I think my year was less than fantastic, but I can't remember. One year I saw the bird in the dirt of a flower bed. I'm as clueless about what that means as what it means when you see the bird on wood, like I did last year, when I spotted my first wagtail sitting on a log. Half the time I think I should ignore them; they obviously didn't get the memo about using rocks and grass.

So imagine how happy I was today when I saw my first wagtail of the year, wagging its tail on grass! I know what that means!

It means I have to try to get a picture.

3 comments:

Sparkling Red said...

I've never seen that type of bird before. It's very handsome with the black and white colour scheme.
I hope you have a chance to get a photo. :-)

Joanne Rasmussen said...

Hi, I am in South Africa and we have just lost 100s of thousands of swallows apparently due to global warming! do you get the swallows there?

Keera Ann Fox said...

Spark, wagtails are very skittish and constantly moving, so it'll be a challenge to photograph one. I have more trouble photographing sparrows, though.

Hi, Joanne, and welcome! Many types of swallows migrate to Norway for the summer. I looked up what you said about them dying, and it looks like we won't be seeing as many this summer. Sad situation.