Whats in an indigenous bird name

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Whats in an indigenous bird name
From: Paul Taylor <>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 22:22:20 +1000
The discussion about the use of indigenous bird names reminded me of
a passage from one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, which could
equally apply to birds...

   The forest of Skund was indeed enchanted, which was nothing unusual
   on the Disc, and was also the only forest in the whole universe to
   be called -- in the local language -- Your Finger You Fool, which
   was the literal meaning of the word Skund.

   The reason for this is regrettably all too common. When the first
   explorers from the warm lands around the Circle Sea travelled into
   the chilly hinterland they filled in the blank spaces on their maps
   by grabbing the nearest native, pointing at some distant landmark,
   speaking very clearly in a loud voice, and writing down whatever
   the bemused man told them. Thus were immortalised in generations of
   atlases such geographical oddities as Just A Mountain, I Don't Know,
   What? and, of course, Your Finger You Fool.


   Paul Taylor                                  Veni, vidi, tici -
                           I came, I saw, I ticked.

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