Four Calling Birds by Laura Jaen Smith. Acrylic painting from 12 Days of Christmas series.
Painting Series

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me…

Four Calling/Colly Birds – 12 Days of Christmas

A Painting of Four Colly Birds

“Four Calling/Colly Birds” is a 5″x7″ acrylic painting on canvas board and the painting for Day #3.   It is the fourth painting of a series I have started celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas by releasing a new painting each of the first 12 days of December!

Be sure to like me on Facebook (follow me on Twitter) so you can see when the new one goes up and follow along in the fun!


Calling Birds or Colly Birds?

  • There are a few different variations of the lyrics of this particular line throughout the years, including “calling birds”, “colly birds”, “coloured birds”, “mocking birds”, and even “canary birds”
  • It appears that colly birds was the oldest version of the line.  Colly is an old English word for black.  A colly bird is now referred to as a European Blackbird (which for anyone interested, it is related to a thrush and not at all the blackbirds or crows that we have here in the states).
  • Remember Frederic Austin who I talked about on Day one?  (He was the composer who added the melody to the lyrics).  He is said to also be responsible for a couple of the changes in lyrics – including “calling birds”.
  • Blackbirds were considered a delicacy during Medieval times and seem to show up throughout different sources of the time period – such as the nursery rhyme Sing a Song of Sixpence.

Which version are you most familiar with?  Do you have a favorite blackbird recipe?  

Looking for a one of a kind gift for the holidays?

I am listing each of the 12 Days of Christmas series on my new Etsy shop!  So that means that you have the possibility of being able to add this beautiful painting (or the others) to your collection or gift it to a special someone for Christmas.    As my gift to you, free shipping within the US for any of the paintings in this series (more details on the site).   There are also other gift-able items in the shop to check out!
Buy – Four Calling/Colly Birds
Buy – Two Turtle Doves
Buy – Three French Hens
Buy – A Partridge in a Pear Tree
Some Resources:

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