Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Scythe-Whetting Song

"The Scythe-whetting or Rollicking Song is probably a form of greeting as well as love as it is uttered when two or more meet. 

"It has been likened to the sound produced by the sharpening of a scythe and is a sharp metallic wich-er  wick-er  wick-ah  ... repeated from two to twelve times."

[This is referring to the Northern Flicker (Colaptus auratus), a member of the woodpecker family.]

(Source:  "The Wilson Bulletin", a magazine devoted to the study of birds, Number 31, "A Monograph of the Flicker", by Frank L. Burns, page 27, Wilson Ornithological Society, Oberlin Ohio, April 1900.