Saturday, August 07, 2010

YELLOWHAMMER: Communication

Called “Yellow Bunting” in some areas of Europe, Yellowhammer is usually found hopping about in croplands. After a harvest, He and his flock will eat the grain remaining in the fields. Preferring farm fields surrounded by shrubs, Yellowhammer is rarely found in gardens or woods.

When He is not breeding, Yellowhammer joins a mixed flock that includes Finches and Buntings. Within this flock, Yellowhammer and his Friends have a communal roosting spot inside the thick hedges. This robust Bird does not seem to mind the cold, and sometimes will roost on the bushes under the snow.

Wary but not shy, Yellowhammer will choose a high perch on a bush near people to sing his tunes. He usually sings “a little bit of bread and no cheese”. However, in Scotland, Yellowhammer calls, “may the Devil take you!”

Another name for Yellowhammer is “Scribble Lark” because of the squiggly lines on his eggs. Since these lines resemble cursive writing, He is also called the “Writing Lark”. The squiggles are Yellowhammer’s messages to the world.

Yellowhammer communicates in various ways. Not content with “cheep cheep”, He sings whole sentences to get people’s attention. If that does not work, Yellowhammer scribbles on his eggs, which are covered with writing. However, make sure that you are clear in your statements or people will not understand you. Like the squiggles on Yellowhammer’s eggs, you can be as confusing.
Science Notes:

1. Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) of Europe is a member of the Old World Bunting Family. In some areas, Flicker (Colaptes auratus) is referred to as “Yellowhammer”. However, Flickers are woodpeckers.

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