Buddy the talking Starling

To: "'Stephen Ambrose'" <>, <>
Subject: Buddy the talking Starling
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:10:47 +1100
That is astonishing. I suppose I can be a tiny bit happy, as a start to
2014, that I have survived all of my life, up till this stage without ever
having heard such a crazy idea. I guess such an process would inspire a
whole new vocabulary of swearing from the poor jackdaw. The only possible
thing that I can imagine to inspire such wackiness is if someone ever
dissected a bird to look at its paired syrinx, which is different to a
mammal's larynx, that they might think there is something good in split
systems. But in 1390?


-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Stephen Ambrose
Sent: Monday, 20 January 2014 10:59 AM
Subject: Buddy the talking Starling

Geoffrey Chaucer perpetuated the cruel myth (in Maunciple's Tale, written in
1390) that if a Jackdaw's tongue was split at the tip with a silver sixpence
ground to a knife edge, then it would talk better. As a young child I
remember reading a novel (can't remember which one, but it may have been an
Enid Blyton novel) in which a Gypsy family in the English countryside had a
pet Common Mynah whose tongue had been split to enable it to talk. Reference
to this myth in classic English literature has, unfortunately, led to some
people believing it to be true (as I discovered during a brief search of the
internet this morning).

Stephen Ambrose
Ryde NSW

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