Thursday, March 17, 2005

MORE NOMENCLATURE: sp. and etymology of EYAS

MORE NOMENCLATURE: sp. and etymology of EYAS

3/17/05 -- This note came a few days ago from Dennis Sawchuk:

Dear Marie Winn,

I've a quick question regarding the terminology used for nestling hawks. I was reading with a chuckle the correspondance regarding "mating" versus "copulating," and came across the term "eyeass." Having not seen "eyass" before, curiousity prodded me to look up the term online, yet I had trouble locating a definition. I altered the spelling and subsequently found the following on MSN encarta:

ey·as (plural ey·as·es)

young hawk: a young hawk or falcon, especially one bred for falconry
[15th century. Alteration of obsolete nias , from French niais “bird taken from the nest,” from Latin nidus “nest.” Initial “n” lost by misdivision (“an ias”), as in an adder for a nadder --the original word for the snake MW]

So is the correct (and more genteel) spelling "eyas" ? Or is "eyass" simply an altered spelling form; UK versus US english, perhaps? And does this term predominate for falconry only, or for the description of any nestling hawk? Yes, I realize that this is minutia, but it's such an interesting term!

In addition, I echo Debra Lott's thoughts from 2/15/05 in thanking you for your website.


P.S. from Marie: The American Heritage Dictionary [my favorite] spells it eyas also. It gives an Indo-European root for the word: SED -- to sit. [The Indo-European roots it provides are why I love the Am. Heritage Dictionary]
P.S.S I kind of like "hawk babies" instead of eyases.


Louella wrote:

Would you be kind enough to tell me what "Linda 1" or "Linda 6" means? I'm reading the progress of the hawks on the website and I don't understand that.

Thank you for your time.

I answered:

Dear Louella,

Here's the scoop: There's a building two buildings to the south of the Hawk Building that we call Linda's Building because a lady named Linda who once came to the Hawk Bench and identified herself to us lives there. She has an apartment one floor below the top floor that has six windows facing the park. Each window has a little black balcony railing, where the hawks love to perch because it is in sight of the nest. We've numbered her windows from North to South: Linda One to Linda Six. This is for purposes of quick IDing to all the hawkwatchers. So if Pale Male suddenly appears and lands there someone will say Pale Male at Linda 3.