Friday, March 20, 2009

A question for the bird nerds

I've got a question for the bird nerds.
In North America we can always tell when spring is coming by the spying of the first Robin.
What bird signifies this in Germany/this section of Europe?
What little guy is the harbinger of all things warm, green and wonderful?
In case you haven't noticed... I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO SPRING!


Bowleserised said...

In theory it's the cuckoo, but I think there might be a shortage of them, or else Berlin is the wrong habitat.
European robins tend only to be about in winter, the cheery little souls.

Snooker said...

Ah, but what does he look like?
I've NEVER heard the stereotypical cuckoo here in Berlin at all... am I cuckoo or just deaf?

christina said...

I'm not sure if there really is an official "spring bird" here. We don't have cuckoos either and the birds we do have - sparrows, chickadees, finches, titmice etc seem to hang around all year.

Anonymous said...

The swallow could be a spring bird in Germany. But I dont know exactly when they come back from Africa.

Bowleserised said...

Here's a cuckoo.

PapaScott said...

We have cuckoos near our house. If anyone wants to know how they sound, I can give you a call when ours starts up. He usually starts about 4:00 or 4:30 in the morning. ;-)

It's still too early in the year for our cuckoos, though, we usually start hearing them around May.

The German saying for birds and spring is "Ein Vogel macht keinen Frühling," so I guess you have to wait until you see two.

Goofball said...

In Dutch it's the swallow....but as someone said before, you must see at least 2 because we have a saying "one swallow doesn't make spring"

Anonymous said...

You know, I figure spring is imminent when I start seeing bugs, which have been showing up around the Donau lately. But then, I'm not a bird nerd.

Snooker said...

Hey, thanks everyone for the hints.

I've never heard a real-live cuckoo, but in my teens my father bought a German cuckoo clock and installed that in the living room. Let's just say that I am quite familiar with Papa Scott's 4:00 am noisemakers. At least ours stopped after a few choruses.

I've spent all my life listening to the twitterings of birds. After years of this I am even capable of putting a voice with a body... or I was... Then I left the States.

These birds are all new to me, although from their body and beak shape I can identify their brethren from the group I know. This way I have an idea of the sparrow and the swallow, what they eat and their habits... but no idea what they are.

My sister is a real bird nerd. She carries her book with her wherever she goes. In the back of the identification book is a log book with a year. Every spring she starts logging the birds as she sees them, noting the dates and the locations as well... whew, that is a bit much for me.