Friday, August 2, 2019

David, I miss you so!

David, my closest friend, to whom I had to say goodbye many months ago. I do not closely know anyone who knew him, and it looks as if there will be no memorial service, which baffles and wounds me. It seems unfair that such a rich life should go uncelebrated and unmarked, and it has made my grief infinitely harder to deal with. It ambushes me at certain vulnerable times, like right now when my husband has been hospitalized and the outlook is uncertain. And I don't want to let him go, for it means the end of a huge chapter of my life. Maybe a whole book. The story is too large to tell right now, thirty years' worth of memories, and I don't know where to begin. I found this bit of him on his Facebook page, in which he sings in his inimitable fashion, and some pictures from my album.

A fluffy white mystery: the Korean crow-tit

Blogger's note. What baffles and pleases me about this blog with its modest-but-loyal following is how I get comments, sometimes quite a few, on posts that are several years old. Though I've continued to post here, I sometimes think, "oh, nobody's reading this," and even try to avoid looking at stats, because it's too easy to get caught up in it (and that's not why I do this anyway). Unfortunately, the internet has become one big competition for views, likes and subscriptions in recent years. 

Strangely enough, the biggest reaction in recent times was to a small, satiric piece about a fluffy little bird called the Korean Crow Tit. It started out life on the internet as a  cute 'n fluffy meme which was soon posted and reposted everywhere:

I had my misgivings. The name  "Korean crow-tit" did not seem to match this creature, if in fact it existed at all. It looked more like those fake baby chicks you used to get at Easter, usually stuck onto cardboard. Could this in fact be Fake Bird News? I tried to find out more. 

Here's a sampling of comments and responses I received, some of which are fairly heated for this fluffy little topic. I've removed most identifying remarks, but alternated font colours for (I hope!) clarity.

Hi, Margaret! I love a good internet-"meme" mystery!

So, as near as I can figure, the bird that is colloquially referred to as a crow-tit in Korea is the Parrotbill - the Vinous-throated Parrotbill Sinosuthora webbiana.

The picture that comes up if you google "Korean Crow-tit" appears to be some kind of actual tit-but possibile leucistic. Not the parrotbill, though I see some superficial resemblance.

I will have to investigate further to see if I can figure out what that mostly white bird is that is coming up in the search.

Marc Devokaitis
Public Information Specialist
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The bird appears to be a Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus).

As a korean its really uncomfortable to see googles first result on korean crow tit is your page. U have never seen birds in korea yet when im so happy that our crow tit is getting some attention and love from people all over the world u say its fake??? What evidence do u have to say its fake??? U have none... because they r true...i grew up with them. This page is offensive

I was very curious myself if this bird actually existed... That should not be taken offensively.. it's such a beautiful little bird it almost does look fake due to its sweet and perfect appearance....

I know this is probably not relevant anymore, but I wanted to try giving insight even if it's late. As far as I can tell from asking my friends and relatives who grew up in Korea, the word "baepsae" (뱁새) is typically used in conversation to refer to both the Vinous-Throated Parrotbill and the Japanese Long-Tailed Tit (which is colloquially called the Korean Crow-Tit). I think the Parrotbill is the more official/proper translation, but the reason the Long-Tail appears so often when you search "Korean Crow-Tit" seems to be because most Koreans think it's the cuter of the two and the word is used to refer to the Long-Tail far more often than the Parrotbill as a result. (But that's just what I've learned from people around me. I can't confirm anything for 100% certain.)

This is the Japanese Longtailed tit! :) Probably the cutest bird to ever exist imo

This is Aegithalos caudatus

Absolutely true....This is the right name. ..checked everywhere ...On YouTube too..Thanks so much .

Hello! I came across this post by accident but wanted to add that here in Europe we have a variant which is called Codibugnolo (meaning long tailed) - it's a tiny white bird with black stripes (pretty similar to the 'Korean Crow Tit'). Also about the cotton-like appeareance, like someone already said, it could just be the bird fluffing up its feathers from the cold.. my budgies sometimes look like that when they clean themselves, other times they completely puff out and look like starving pinschers haha! Hope I didn't intrude with this comment

It is a species of long tailed tit that mostly resides in Hokkaido, Japan known as Shima Enaga and the white floofy balls are only native to japan. Other variants have different colours

Adding onto the information above, the bird is not a Japan-limited bird. it's habitat extends from Asia to Mediterranean. One reason why the photo shows white colouring is because it is a migratory bird that changes its colour depending on the season. I just wanted to correct the misinformatin about the bird being Japanese.

For everyone saying this is a Japan-only bird, it's actually widespread all across Central/East Asia and Europe and (gasp) even Korea! They're a migratory species and change the color of their plumage from pinkish-gray to the winter black/white. Yes, the adorable white cotton ball can also be found in places like Germany. As for the 'fake' Korean crow-tit, Aka the Baepsae - Vinous-Throated parrotbill. It looks very similar to the long-tailed tit and also lives in places like Korea, Vietnam and Japan.

Yes finally, we have them here in Sweden too! Here they're called stjärtmes in Swedish. Lovely small bird. All this 'controversy' about this bird just shows how easy people trust what they read online, kindly source check please. :)

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