Four calling birds

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On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Four calling birds, three French hens,

Two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree.

Photo by Francis C Franklin

Do you know what calling birds are? It’s not exactly a recognised species – the original rhyme apparently included “colly birds”. Colly was another word for black – coal-ey? – and the origin of the sheepdog name also.

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