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Jan 2, 2012

What's in a name? Duck Hawk

                                                                                                                                                                                   Photo by BarrytheBirder
The photo above shows the blade of a canoe paddle which was given to me, by my colleagues, upon my retirement 10 years ago from the newspaper business.   The painting of the Peregrine Falcon was done by Geoffrey Duck, the son of one of those publishing colleagues.   Back then I think I was vaguely aware that the Peregrine Falcon was known as the Duck Hawk in North America, a long time ago.   Here's some of what A. Radclyffe Dugmore had to say about the Duck Hawk in his 1900 book Bird Homes: "Few people associate the name of the Duck Hawk with the Peregrine Falcon of history, yet this is the bird that was used when falconry was the fashionable pastime; at that time almost any price was paid for a well-trained tercel, as the male bird was called; now that falconry has almost died out, the name of peregrine will probably go, and the more common name of duck hawk will be the only name by which this bird will be known".   Dugmore's leaning toward the name Duck Hawk did not make him a quack.   Indeed, in America, he was a renowned and prolific artist, photographer and writer on all things environmental, although his take on the relationship between humans and all other animals was somewhat out-of-step with modern sensibilities (more on that another time).   He was wrong, of course, on the winning name and I personally feel that Peregrine Falcon is an all-around grander name for a bird of such impressive credentials and appearance.   The word peregrine has French and Latin origins and is defined as 'having a tendency to wander'.   In the case of peregrine, the bird, that 'wandering' is oft-times done at incredibly fast speeds.   In a dive, it is variously estimated at speeds around the 300km/h or 200 mph!
Please comment if you wish.

1 comment:

effie kadoglou said...

wonderful this canoe paddle is not to be used of course.i see it in a corner of the living room and now i think your grand children will take it and begin to chase one another around the room corners.aha no ,they don't do such things they are good boys .