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why coal tit was named "coal" tit?

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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 14:08   #1
naturegirl
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Question why coal tit was named "coal" tit?

just for it has deep black head?
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 14:16   #2
Jane Turner
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I'm guessing because its the blackest/greyest tit in the UK
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 15:16   #3
Andrew Whitehouse
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In the early days of mining, these small birds were used by miners to extract peanut sized pieces of coal from very narrow seams - hence the name 'Coal Tit'.

Possibly.
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 15:47   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Whitehouse
In the early days of mining, these small birds were used by miners to extract peanut sized pieces of coal from very narrow seams - hence the name 'Coal Tit'.

Possibly.
Interesting: In German Great Tit has the name "Kohlmeise" what means Coal Tit. Otherwise Coal Tit has the name "Tannenmeise" what means Fir Tit. Both species have a black like coal cap so I assume they were named by the colour of their head.

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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 15:52   #5
Elizabeth Bigg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Whitehouse
In the early days of mining, these small birds were used by miners to extract peanut sized pieces of coal from very narrow seams - hence the name 'Coal Tit'.

Possibly.
I was beginning to think it must be April 1st - then I saw possibly!!!
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 15:53   #6
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Andrew!

Behave!!

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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 15:56   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hinnark
Interesting: In German Great Tit has the name "Kohlmeise" what means Coal Tit.
"Kohlmeise" means, of course, Cabbage Tit. It is named after cabbage-green back.

In Britain there were big influxes of tits in association with cold weather. Therefore, when tits appeared around houses in larger numbers, people knew it is time to warm their houses with coal.

(or possibly not ).
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 16:32   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurek
"Kohlmeise" means, of course, Cabbage Tit. It is named after cabbage-green back.

In Britain there were big influxes of tits in association with cold weather. Therefore, when tits appeared around houses in larger numbers, people knew it is time to warm their houses with coal.

(or possibly not ).

Ummm... sorry.... not to complicate this even more...

But a english Coal Tit is a Parus ater , which germans refer to as Tannenmeise, whereas a german Kohlmeise is a Parus major, a Great Tit in english...
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 16:37   #9
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Sorry, just realized the latest poster seemed aware already, I just hit the uppermost post to reply after making sure looking up in books without reading the thread further....
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 16:39   #10
Joern Lehmhus
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Probably because people eat more cabbage in winter, this being a traditional winter vegetable- and Kohlmeise meaning: when lots of these birds arrive, itll get cold- so get your cabbage into the house, otherwise it will be frozen...

Possibly...

But Kohlmeise is named after Kohle = Coal (not Kohl = cabbage)- so I think the naming after black head is the best explanation
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 16:50   #11
Alastair Rae
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A bird name translation site http://www.mumm.ac.be/~serge/birds lists Anser albifrons and Corvus corax with a "Kol" stem and only Parus major with "Kohl".

I remember once a chap in the Netherlands referring to "Kolgans". I thought he meant Branta leucopsis. My mistake but where's the coal on a whitefronted goose?
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 16:57   #12
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Well,
I thought the dutch Kolgans referring to Anser albifrons really comes from the dutch for cabbage, as they also feed on that, and on rape (Brassica napus);

and Raven is "Kolk"rabe- i am not sure where that comes from as a Kolk in German is normally a place in a small river washed deeply out through the flowing water (hope thats understandable?)
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 19:00   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Whitehouse
In the early days of mining, these small birds were used by miners to extract peanut sized pieces of coal from very narrow seams - hence the name 'Coal Tit'.

Possibly.
It didn't work as they sashed them somewhere else for later!
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Old Thursday 11th November 2004, 11:44   #14
Alastair Rae
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joern Lehmhus
Well,
I thought the dutch Kolgans referring to Anser albifrons really comes from the dutch for cabbage, as they also feed on that, and on rape (Brassica napus);

and Raven is "Kolk"rabe- i am not sure where that comes from as a Kolk in German is normally a place in a small river washed deeply out through the flowing water (hope thats understandable?)
Webster (1) gives an origin of the word "coal" from the High German & Old Norse kol "burning ember". So are there two meanings, one black and one orange? Could "kolgans" come from the orange bill of Anser anser or maybe flavirostris?

(1) http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?coal
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Old Thursday 11th November 2004, 12:26   #15
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Well, I consulted my reference again :

It is a colloquial name, like "tit-mouse" or "Tom-tit" or "Jack-daw". Coal-tit comes actually from "col-tit" or colonel-tit. At the feeder, this brightly and contrastingly coloured bird chasing drab Willow and Marsh Tits resembled a military commander instructing it's subordinates.

As true as that Canary Islands are named after Canaries.



(possibly I am going too far)
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Old Thursday 11th November 2004, 14:33   #16
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Yes, just as 'wigeon' is a corruption of 'wee gen' (as in general) so named for its commanding position over other ducks.
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Old Friday 12th November 2004, 07:52   #17
Joern Lehmhus
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Hey Alastair,
I checked the dutch "Kol" and it seems to come from coal, not from cabbage-
so I think an explanation for Kolgans may also be the black barring on the belly; no other grey goose has this to that extent.

Jrn
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Old Thursday 18th November 2004, 19:41   #18
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Whitehouse
In the early days of mining, these small birds were used by miners to extract peanut sized pieces of coal from very narrow seams - hence the name 'Coal Tit'.

Possibly.

I run a solid fuel boiler - how many Coal Tits will it take to fill my 5cwt bunker.
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Old Thursday 18th November 2004, 20:08   #19
walwyn
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OED

Coalmouse, colemouse, colmase, colmose, ... c1000.

Coal: reference to its dark colour + Mose: several species of small birds chiefly of the genus parus.

BTW Coal-goose -> Cormorant.
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Last edited by walwyn : Thursday 18th November 2004 at 20:11. Reason: spelling + aside
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