Upupa Epos

I don’t wake up because of the alarm clock, but because of a bird on my badly in need of repairs roof. The second day in a row now. It sounds remarkably so like a retro ringtone, four short notes, then a break, rhythmic. It sounds out of place.

An owl struggling with his identity. An entrepreneurial cuckoo.Villager J who is taken the piss out of me. That could also be a possibility.

I get up. The sound hasn’t stopped, but the direction it comes from has changes and I look out of the window. There it is, on the roof of the house opposite mine.

What is it, a woodpecker? But woodpeckers don’t sound like that. A mutated woodpecker?  Every time he emits his noise he bends his neck,  his head going up and down. A comical sight. Its beak is remarkably large and I can easily make out his colours, an unusual shade of light brown bodice, tail feathers black and white, beautiful pattern.

It fell out of the sky on the way to an exotic destination, I decide.

Carefully I open the window, risking him to be scared off by the sudden noise, but he stays put.  I switch on my laptop and google “‘birds in Galicia’’ , just in case it is actually a local bird I simply have never noticed before. lots of sites spring up. It doesn’t take me long to spot it.  Upupa Epos, the hoopoe bird.

A screeching noise, crow-like but more gentle, I look up from my laptop. Another one…but this one has its crest up, like a cockatoo. Just as quickly as it has appeared however, it disappears.

Hoopoe number one still sits in the same spot, motionless and silent.

I turn up the volume on my laptop and click on the “hoopoe sound” button. It sounds exactly the same as what I’ve just heard and to my surprise the hoopoe turns his head in my direction. There seems to be some confusion from his part but then he answers, moving his head op and down even more than before. Hupupupu

8.00 o’clock in the morning, communicating with a hoopoe bird. And I haven’t even had coffee yet.

I continue reading about the Hoopoe bird on the internet. They’re considered unclean birds, they make their nests using excrement and their offspring will also excrete a foul-smelling substance when threatened.The hoopoe has played an important part in many religions worldwide, and a rather mixed role. In Egypt they were considered sacred, in Persia a symbol of virtue, in Estonia they were thought to have links with the underworld, their call announcing death for many people, and in France they were considered stupid.

The French, I read furthermore, considered it so stupid, it even entered their language, and that is where the English word Dupe originate.

1675–85;  < French; Middle French duppe  for *( tête ) d’uppe  head of hoopoe, i.e., fool (compare tête de fou) < Vulgar Latin *uppa, Latin upupa  hoopoe, a bird thought to be especially stupid. 

When I look outside again the bird is gone, leaving inspiration behind.

A perfect title.


6 thoughts on “Upupa Epos

  1. Oh, yes. One of my favorite hobbies, birding. I looked them up, they are pretty birds and their beak is very long. I guess they use it to probe into the ground searching for insects. I don’t think I’ll ever be lucky enough to see one. Thanks!

  2. Pingback: S is for Sounds | CHICADEROCK

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