Yellowhammer Folklore

This cute wee bird, the Yellowhammer, which is sadly in decline, has had some surprisingly sinister folklore associated with it in some parts of Scotland🩸

From Popular Rhymes of Scotland (3rd Ed. 1841):

“…it drinks a drop, some say three drops, of the devil's blood each May morning, some say each Monday morning. Its nest, therefore, receives less mercy than that of almost any other bird. Its somewhat extraordinary appearance, all of one colour, and that an unusual one in birds, is the only imaginable cause of the antipathy with which it is regarded. The boys of our own northern region, who call it the yellow yorling or yite, address it in the following rhyme of reproach :

Half a paddock, half a toad, Half a yellow yorling
Drinks a drap o' the deil's bluid
Every May morning.

The boys give the following as an imitation of the whistle of the yellow yorling :

Whetil-te, whetil-te, whee
Herry my nest, and the deil 'll tak ye!”

📖Link to digitised book (Yellowhammer info on pg170-171 of this version):

✨To read more about Yellowhammer lore in its seasonal context of Lá Bealltainn head over to The Cailleach’s Herbarium , an excellent site for folklore & folk practices ☺️

⭐️ Yellowhammer Bird Facts

(📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel)


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