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Decembers Surprise Animal is …….a Wren

For the first month of my surprise animal cufflinks I decided to be seasonable and picked a wren the king of the birds….also thank you Alison for the suggestion 😉

So here is what an actual wren looks like (taken from the RSPB website)

And here are my new cufflinks!

 

 

 

 

I’m really happy with how they turned out 🙂

 

 

 

 

A little about the wren, or little brown jobby as my oh so eloquent husband calls them!

There are 83 species of Wren in the Americas, and then one Eurasian Wren this side of the pond, which lives all across Europe. In Britain alone there are an estimated 7 million wren territories and it is the most wide spread bird, but sadly a cold winter often kills up to 25% of the population 🙁

During the spring the male will build 6-12 nests and the female then gets to pick which one she wants, although he will probably have more then one mate so I suppose the second one can choose from the rest! Weighing just 7-12g!!!! The wren is often thought of as the smallest British bird but actually the goldcrest is smaller, it is the shortest though!

Back in Ireland I grew up with the story of the Wren becoming king of the birds by outwitting the others. After it was decided that the bird that flew highest would be king,  the eagle soared off into the sky not noticing the tiny little wren on its back, once the eagle was tired and could go no higher the wren flew off its back and up just a little bit, becoming the king, using its small size to its advantage!

So why is the Wren seasonal? December 26th is St Stephens Day and myth has it that St Stephen was found and killed because of a singing wren. Because of this it is tradition in Ireland to hunt a wren on St Stephens Day. Then to carry it around while the hunters; the wren boys, wearings masks and singing, collect money to “bury the wren”. In some places this money would be used to fund a party and in others would just go to the wren boys. Nowadays the hunting of an actual Wren doesn’t usually happen, but my parents can expect a knock on St Stephens day from the wren boys (often girls) playing a tune, perhaps doing a dance and collecting some money for the wren.

There is a pretty strong chance that hunting the wren is actually a throw back to an earlier pagan ritual marking the death of winter as the wren is sometimes known as the winter king.

Confusingly because myths work like that! It is also considered bad luck to hurt a wren!

You can buy my wren cufflinks here

And you can sign up for next months, or several months of surprise animal cufflinks here.

 

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