Saturday, 24 January 2015

Bird of the week - Yellowhammer

The yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) is a popular and easily recognised bird.  It has been suggested that its song was the inspiration for the opening notes of Beethoven's fourth piano concerto and/or fifth symphony.

It seems surprising now that yellowhammers were introduced to New Zealand in the 1860s and 1870s to help control insect pests on cereal crops.  It was recognised too late that they prefer eating cereals rather than insects!  Read the full story here or the original paper here. How the yellowhammer became a kiwi.

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