Goldcrests and woodcocks are both migratory birds who, every winter leave the bitter cold of Scandinavia and northern Europe and head for the milder UK. The goldfinches that make the perilous crossing (which could take 2 days) arrive mostly in Scotland and the north of England. Astonished by how the goldcrest, the lightest of birds could make the journey, folk believed they must have rode on the backs of woodcocks (and owls) earning goldcrests the titles, ‘Woodcock pilots’ and ‘King of Birds’. Also, the Eurasian Woodcock female is known for carrying her chicks in flight, by holding them between legs and belly when they are threatened, so it’s easy (for me at least!) to believe how they hitched a ride. In truth, the fact that they get across is more amazing, but it’s a great story.
Here’s my ‘artist’s impression’. I posted this on Facebook as an colouring-in activity during the Covid-19 lock down. It was a real treat to see how people had enjoyed colouring in. Help yourself and download my drawing if you’d like to colour on in yourself!