Russell McLendon is a scientific research writer with specialization in the natural environment, humans, and also wildlife. The holds degrees in journalism and environmental anthropology.

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"Calling birds" may refer to common blackbirds, additionally known together Eurasian blackbirds.(Photo: rob Kemp/Shutterstock)

This one"s trickier. Over there isn"t a varieties named "calling bird," yet there is a clue in the song"s earliest-known print version, which appeared in the 1780 children"s publication "Mirth there is no Mischief." There, the line reads "four colly birds," making use of an old English word for black. That suggests "calling birds" were originally blackbirds, and also Rasmussen pegs the Eurasian blackbird (aka common blackbird) together a most likely suspect.


A greylag goose trudges v snow in central England.(Photo: Erni/Shutterstock)

The 6 nesting waterfowl space greylag geese, Rasmussen says. These are the ancestors of most domestic goose breeds, and also according to the RSPB, they"re likewise the "largest and also bulkiest" of any wild geese indigenous to the U.K. And Europe.

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Greylag geese are a typical sight in ~ ponds and also marshes throughout Eurasia, where they migrate between northern reproduction grounds and much more southerly winter retreats. They're recognized for a distinctive hoarse honk, recorded in the recording below:


One mute swam go a-swimming at Forfar Loch in Angus, Scotland.(Photo: note Caunt/Shutterstock)

Finally, the seven swimming waterfowl room most most likely mute swans. These huge birds were long kept in semi-domesticity in England, whereby they were considered property of the Crown. Although part were consumed at banquets, royal security may have actually saved lock from gift wiped the end by hunting, as they to be in various other places.


Mute swans were introduced to phibìc America in the 19th century, where they're currently deemed one invasive species. They execute make less noise than other swans, but they're not precisely mute. Here's one videotaped in Devon, England, in 1966:


And, as a vacation bonus, here's a record of a mute swan acquisition off native water. Together Rasmussen explains, the swans' according to wing beats assist them advertise and defend your territory, pour it until it is full a duty normally play by tune in an ext vocal birds: