Friday, March 16, 2007

Today's mantra: ti-tyy, ti-tyy, ti-tyy

Om om om


Spring spring spring spring spring spring spring.

Spring. Spring. Spring.


Om om om

The incredible fact is the season's turned, and lucky I, on the tenth floor, I don't just have a view. I have a soundscape, too: the birds have started their spring-time spouse-finding. The talitiainen (literally, lard tit, but better known in the English-speaking world as a great tit) is our first harbinger of spring. His much-quoted love call used to be ti-ti-tyy, but particularly in urban areas, this is nowadays trunkated into ti-tyy. Like human babies, baby lard tits learn their vocabulary from their parents, and during my lifetime the wall of sound from traffic has grown to such a magnitude the baby talitiainen can't hear the first "ti". I was shocked to find the English think he says "teacher, teacher". No, no, no. Ti-tyy, ti-tyy is what we now hear.

I have also heard a peipponen, the fellow elsewhere known as a chaffinch (he says tiritiriteijaa, this proven by a popular old children's song). This is headline news, since, as everyone knows

Kuu kiurusta kesään
puoli kuuta peipposesta
västäräkistä vähäsen
pääskysestä ei päivääkään.

(NB I don't make this stuff up, this is an ancient Finnish rhyme which utilises the arrival of certain migratory birds to predict the beginning of summer:

A month till summer from the song thrush,
half a month from a chaffinch,
a little bit from a wagtail (sorry folks, you'll have to make do with the Finnish Wikipedia here as the English version illustrates the wrong subspecies altogether),
not a day from the swallow.)

I heard Mr. Peipponen last Sunday and nearly fell off the balcony. Half a month, and we're only in mid-March now! (Incidentally, hope you all bewore the Ides of March yesterday, was meaning to post an online warning, but the day ended before I got round to it.)

I also managed to catch Mr. Country Bumpkin Great Tit saying not only ti-ti-tyy but also adding the odd extra -tyy, for good measure, as it were, just to prove he could. I was so happy, he sounded like my childhood spring. Mr Tit, I said to myself, a lovely spring to you too, and best of luck with the lady lard tits.


nmj said...

of course, anna mr, the ides of bloody march!!! that's why my computer has gone crazy...anyway, fingers crossed the worms have gone...glad you are enjoying spring from your feet tingling tenth floor, i think i said my crocuses all have broken necks from the gales, but the daffs are okay, not my favourites, though i know you like them cos of wales x

Anna MR said...

Ah yes, I have had this daff debate with you last year, we do go back a long way dear heart! Glad the worms are gone (knocking furiously on wood)