Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Whistler

I've been puzzling over the identity of this enigmatic "whistler". The fictional (?) village of Deyirmenoluk is located at the foot of the Taurus Mountains on the Anatolian Plateau in Turkey.

There is a bird with long legs, finely shaped, a yellowish-grey like smoke, or rather almost green like trees seen through smoke, its neck so long that beak and body seem separate. It always stays near water. In Deyirmenoluk they call it the whistler, because of its call. It sings in a strange whistling manner, a long whistle which it then cuts short. It begins and stops, begins and stops. All the thrill of its singing lies in this sudden pause.

Memed My Hawk by Ya┼čar Kemal, trans. Edouard Roditi (1961)


  1. I'm far from certain, but I think this may be a darter -- now extinct in Turkey.

    1. That's an interesting possibility that had not crossed my mind. The croaking call of African Darter would not fit though.