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Birds in the Stars

Night birds, flying high
© Johann Bayer Uraniometria View Large

Many constellations were marked out long ago by ancient Romans and Greeks and the Sumerians before them. Three of today’s nine bird constellations were spotted by the ancients: an eagle, a swan, and a crow, birds familiar then in the Mediterranean region. People of many other cultures also saw figures in the stars, including birds, like Grus the Crane here. The Babylonians saw a giant swallow, the Chinese a vermilion bird.
Support for BirdNote comes from Song Bird Coffee, offering bird-friendly organic shade-grown coffee for holiday giving. More at birdnote.org/songbird.

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Birds in the Stars

Written by Bob Sundstrom

 [Venus (the “Bringer of Peace” -- also, visible in Northern Hemisphere in the winter).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hpb2gp4mtc

This is BirdNote.
Some birds come out only at night. Flying high, among the stars, they are the nine constellations named for birds.
Many constellations in the Northern Hemisphere were marked out long ago, before we even knew what stars were. The ancient Romans and Greeks, and the Sumerians before them, wondered and worked to find meaning in the patterns they saw.
Only three of today’s nine bird constellations were spotted by the ancients: an eagle, a swan, and a crow. These big birds would have been familiar many centuries ago in the Mediterranean region. But other birds, like the toucan, live thousands of miles away. How could that be?
In the late 1500s, Dutch navigators and mapmakers were among the first European explorers to sail into the Southern Hemisphere, where they looked up at an entirely new night sky – and conjured dozens of new constellations.
[sound of the night sea]
People of many cultures other than Europeans also saw figures – including birds – in the stars. The Babylonians saw a giant swallow, the Chinese a vermilion bird. And more.
Many birds that migrate at night are thought to use the stars as guides. Imagine what constellations they must see.
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
Support for BirdNote comes from Songbird Coffee. Offering bird-friendly, organic shade-grown coffee for holiday giving. More at BirdNote.org/Songbird.
                                                                   ###
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Managing Producer: Jason Saul
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
© 2017 Tune In to Nature.org  December 2017  Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#    constellation-01-2017-12-12            constellation-01      

https://www.universetoday.com/19592/aquila/
http://www.topastronomer.com/StarCharts/Constellations/Aquila.php
 
[By the way, the other birds in the 88 modern constellations are dove, crane, peacock, phoenix.]
 
See also
https://in-the-sky.org/data/constellations_list.php
http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/startales1c.htm
 
 

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