Tag Archives: superstitions about birds

Taboos about wild birds

In her classic account of English rural life, Lark Rise to Candleford, Flora Thompson records attitudes to wild birds towards the end of the 19th century.   At a time when egg collecting was a respectable hobby, country boys would engage in wholesale nest robbing and hunting of small birds. The families were chronically poor, and casting a net over a hedge of roosting sparrows would secure a meal:

One boy would often bring home as many as twenty sparrows, which his mother would pluck and make into a pudding.  A small number of birds, or a single bird, would be toasted in front of the fire.

But Thompson notes that the birds in this popular rhyme were left alone: Continue reading Taboos about wild birds