The Yellowhammer - Cameos of Birdlife #12
The Yellowhammer and his song has become embedded in our cultural memory and rural heritage. Immortalised by Beethoven and Enid Blyton.
A bird of lanes, fields, and gorse covered headlands he accompanied me on many childhood walks and cycle rides. Like the ‘Famous Five’ part of my growing up.
stopping for ginger beer we hear a yellowhammer
I can think of no other bird whose bright yellow colour and song - ‘a little bit of bread and no cheeeeese’ - was so widely recognised. Now you will be lucky indeed to see or hear one.
Richard Jefferies fondly remembers the Yellowhammer most from his boyhood too [...] ‘There is sunshine in the song – and whose colour, like that of the wild flowers and the sky, has never faded from my memory. His plumage gives a life and tint to the hedge, contrasting so brightly with the vegetation and with other birds. His song is but a few bars repeated, yet it has a pleasing and soothing effect in the drowsy warmth of summer.’ [...]
Wild Life in a Southern County (1879)
da-da-da-DUM yellowhammer sing on into the night
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major 1
The featured print of a Yellowhammer is by Lucy Newton and is used here with permission.
Born and raised on a farm just outside West Calder she was always fascinated by the flora and fauna of the surrounding countryside and farmland. Lucy would spend hours exploring and observing everything from frog spawn to frost patterns and developed a deep interest in nature. This love of wildlife has always stayed with her and now forms the basis of almost all her artwork. Lucy spends increasing amounts of time outdoors, observing and recording native British wildlife in its natural state.
To see more of her stunningly beautiful paintings do visit her website and Gallery ...
The recording by Jarek Matusiak is used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 license. This and many more can be found at - Xeno-Canto a website dedicated to sharing bird sounds from all over the world.
- There is some debate whether the song of the Yellowhammer really was the inspiration for his most famous 5th Symphony. One school of thought suggests that it was the Ortolan Bunting and not the Yellowhammer. Listen to the intro and some of the repetitive phrasing in his 4th to hear the Yellowhammer.