Love’s Meinie: Three Lectures on Greek and English Birds Trivia Questions and Answers

What bird species is known for its pugnacious nature, with no single tree able to hold two of them?

  • Sparrow
  • Robin
  • Swallow
  • Night-jar

Correct Answer: Robin

Correct Answer Explanation: Ruskin describes the robin as “valde pugnax,” meaning very pugnacious, and notes that their aggressive nature prevents two of them from sharing a single tree.

What is the maximum speed a swallow can reach during flight?

  • 50 miles per hour
  • 100 miles per hour
  • 250 miles per hour
  • 500 miles per hour

Correct Answer: 250 miles per hour

Correct Answer Explanation: Swallows are known for their remarkable speed, capable of reaching up to 250 miles per hour during flight.

What unique anatomical feature does a robin use for grooming, nest building, fighting, and eating?

  • Long, sharp talons
  • Bright red breast feathers
  • A slender, pointed beak
  • A powerful, muscular chest

Correct Answer: A slender, pointed beak

Correct Answer Explanation: Ruskin highlights the versatility of the robin’s beak, which serves multiple functions including grooming, nest building, fighting, and eating.

What is the French term for a simpleton, derived from the open-mouthed appearance of a fly-catcher?

  • Gobble-fly
  • Fissirostres
  • Xonthos
  • Scansor

Correct Answer: Gobble-fly

Correct Answer Explanation: The term “gobble-fly” is a French word for a simpleton, derived from the open-mouthed appearance of a “gobe-mouche,” which translates to fly-catcher.

What is the Latin term created by Ruskin for the Lily Ouzel, referring to its graceful and light movement?

  • Allegretta
  • Rasores
  • Picae
  • Xonthos

Correct Answer: Allegretta

Correct Answer Explanation: Ruskin coined the term “Allegretta” to describe the Lily Ouzel, reflecting its graceful and light movement.

What type of nest does a sand-martin build?

  • A floating nest made of weeds and aquatic plants
  • A nest built in a tree cavity
  • A nest built in a chimney
  • A nest dug in the sand

Correct Answer: A nest dug in the sand

Correct Answer Explanation: Sand-martins are known for digging their nests in the sand, earning them the nickname “border troopers.”

What type of bird is known for its ability to walk underwater?

  • The Night-jar
  • The Arctic Fairy
  • The Torrent Ouzel
  • The Water Rail

Correct Answer: The Torrent Ouzel

Correct Answer Explanation: The Torrent Ouzel is a unique bird capable of walking underwater, though how it does so remains a mystery.

What is the average size of a Spotted Allegret?

  • 4 inches
  • 9 inches
  • 16 inches
  • 24 inches

Correct Answer: 9 inches

Correct Answer Explanation: The Spotted Allegret is a small bird, measuring around 9 inches in length.

What type of nest does a little grebe build?

  • A nest made of mud and twigs
  • A nest built in a tree cavity
  • A nest built in a chimney
  • A floating nest made of weeds and aquatic plants

Correct Answer: A floating nest made of weeds and aquatic plants

Correct Answer Explanation: Little grebes are known for their floating nests, which are constructed from weeds and aquatic plants.

What is the primary food source for a Night-jar?

  • Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Insects
  • Fish

Correct Answer: Insects

Correct Answer Explanation: Night-jars primarily feed on insects, particularly moths, which they catch in flight.

What is the Latin term for birds with split beaks, a family of birds that includes swallows?

  • Fissirostres
  • Scansor
  • Rasores
  • Picae

Correct Answer: Fissirostres

Correct Answer Explanation: Fissirostres is the Latin term for birds with split beaks, a characteristic shared by swallows and other fly-catching birds.

What is the primary nesting material used by swifts?

  • Twigs and leaves
  • Mud and straw
  • Straw, threads, and miscellaneous materials
  • Feathers and fur

Correct Answer: Straw, threads, and miscellaneous materials

Correct Answer Explanation: Swifts use a variety of materials to construct their nests, including straw, threads, and miscellaneous items they find around their environment.

What is the primary food source for a Water Rail?

  • Seeds
  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Anything small enough to swallow that lives in mud or water

Correct Answer: Anything small enough to swallow that lives in mud or water

Correct Answer Explanation: The Water Rail is an opportunistic feeder, consuming anything it can find in the mud or water, including insects, worms, and small fish.

What is the average weight of a Water Rail?

  • 1 pound
  • 4.5 ounces
  • 10 ounces
  • 2 pounds

Correct Answer: 4.5 ounces

Correct Answer Explanation: The Water Rail is a relatively small bird, weighing around 4.5 ounces.

What is the Latin term for scratchers, a group of birds that includes pheasants?

  • Rasores
  • Picae
  • Scansor
  • Fissirostres

Correct Answer: Rasores

Correct Answer Explanation: Rasores is the Latin term for scratchers, a group of birds that includes pheasants and other ground-feeding birds.

What is the average length of a Water Hen?

  • 8 inches
  • 12 inches
  • 16 inches
  • 24 inches

Correct Answer: 16 inches

Correct Answer Explanation: Water Hens are larger than many other bird species, reaching an average length of 16 inches.

What is the average number of eggs laid by an Eider-duck?

  • 1-2
  • 3-4
  • 5-6
  • 7-8

Correct Answer: 5-6

Correct Answer Explanation: Eider-ducks typically lay 5 to 6 eggs, which are often pickled for winter consumption.

What is the approximate value of an eider-duck’s down per pound?

  • 1-2 shillings
  • 5-10 shillings
  • 12-15 shillings
  • 20-25 shillings

Correct Answer: 12-15 shillings

Correct Answer Explanation: Eider-duck down is highly prized for its softness and warmth, with a value of 12 to 15 shillings per pound during Ruskin’s time.

What is the Latin term for pies, a group of birds that includes crows, jays, and woodpeckers?

  • Picae
  • Rasores
  • Scansor
  • Fissirostres

Correct Answer: Picae

Correct Answer Explanation: Picae is the Latin term for pies, a group of birds that includes crows, jays, and woodpeckers.

What is the average size of a Coot?

  • 8 inches
  • 12 inches
  • 16 inches
  • 24 inches

Correct Answer: 16 inches

Correct Answer Explanation: The Coot is a relatively large bird, measuring around 16 inches in length, twice the size of the Arctic Fairy.

What is the average number of eggs laid by a Water Rail?

  • 2-3
  • 4-5
  • 6-7
  • 8-9

Correct Answer: 8-9

Correct Answer Explanation: A Water Rail can lay a large clutch of eggs, typically 8 to 9 in number.

What is the average length of an Arctic Fairy?

  • 4 inches
  • 8 inches
  • 12 inches
  • 16 inches

Correct Answer: 8 inches

Correct Answer Explanation: The Arctic Fairy is a small bird, measuring around 8 inches in length.

What is the Latin word for sparrow, used by the Roman poet Catullus in his poem to Lesbia?

  • Passer
  • Xonthos
  • Scansor
  • Rasores

Correct Answer: Passer

Correct Answer Explanation: “Passer” is the Latin word for sparrow, used by the Roman poet Catullus in his poem to Lesbia.

What is the Latin term for climbing birds, specifically used for parrots?

  • Scansor
  • Picae
  • Rasores
  • Fissirostres

Correct Answer: Scansor

Correct Answer Explanation: Scansor is the Latin term for climbing birds, specifically used for parrots.

What is the Greek term for the silky brown color found in many small birds?

  • Xonthos
  • Embolon
  • Scansor
  • Rasores

Correct Answer: Xonthos

Correct Answer Explanation: Xonthos is the Greek term for the silky brown color found in many small birds, reflecting their delicate appearance.

What is the Greek term for the prow of a ship?

  • Embolon
  • Xonthos
  • Scansor
  • Rasores

Correct Answer: Embolon

Correct Answer Explanation: Embolon is the Greek term for the prow of a ship, a term that Ruskin uses to describe the sharp beak of certain birds.

What is the average number of eggs laid by an Arctic Fairy?

  • 1-2
  • 2-3
  • 3-4
  • 4-5

Correct Answer: 3-4

Correct Answer Explanation: The Arctic Fairy lays a clutch of 3 to 4 pear-shaped eggs.

How fast does a Northern Diver swim underwater?

  • As fast as a fish
  • As fast as an arrow in the air
  • As fast as a horse
  • As fast as a boat

Correct Answer: As fast as an arrow in the air

Correct Answer Explanation: The Northern Diver is known for its incredible swimming speed, reaching speeds comparable to an arrow in the air.

What is the average size of a little grebe’s nest?

  • 6 inches in diameter
  • 1 foot in diameter
  • 2 feet in diameter
  • 3 feet in diameter

Correct Answer: 1 foot in diameter

Correct Answer Explanation: A little grebe’s nest can be quite substantial, reaching a diameter of a foot and a thickness of up to a foot, built from a large quantity of grass and water plants.

What is the primary food source for a little grebe?

  • Seeds
  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Anything small enough to swallow

Correct Answer: Fish

Correct Answer Explanation: Little grebes are primarily fish-eating birds, but their voracious appetite sometimes leads them to swallow fish that are too large, causing choking.

What is the primary nesting location for a chimney swallow?

  • In open air
  • In round towers
  • In chimneys
  • In tree cavities

Correct Answer: In chimneys

Correct Answer Explanation: Chimney swallows, despite being aerial birds, prefer enclosed spaces like chimneys for nesting.

What is the primary nesting location for Alpine swifts?

  • In chimneys
  • In round towers
  • In open air
  • In high, rocky areas or cathedrals

Correct Answer: In high, rocky areas or cathedrals

Correct Answer Explanation: Alpine swifts prefer nesting in high, rocky areas or even cathedrals, showcasing their preference for elevated and protected spaces.

What unique anatomical feature does a Night-jar possess?

  • A bright red breast
  • A long, slender beak
  • A comb on its middle toes and whiskers
  • Long, sharp talons

Correct Answer: A comb on its middle toes and whiskers

Correct Answer Explanation: Night-jars are characterized by their distinctive comb on their middle toes and whiskers, which contribute to their nocturnal lifestyle.

What is the primary nesting location for Lily Ouzels?

  • In high, rocky areas
  • In chimneys
  • In trees
  • On floating nests

Correct Answer: On floating nests

Correct Answer Explanation: Lily Ouzels build unique floating nests, typically constructed from reeds and other aquatic plants.

What is the primary food source for a Torrent Ouzel?

  • Seeds
  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Anything small enough to swallow

Correct Answer: Small fish and water insects

Correct Answer Explanation: Torrent Ouzels are adapted to their environment, primarily feeding on small fish and water insects found in mountain torrents.

What is the primary nesting location for Torrent Ouzels?

  • In open air
  • Near mountain torrents
  • In chimneys
  • In tree cavities

Correct Answer: Near mountain torrents

Correct Answer Explanation: Torrent Ouzels, true to their name, nest near mountain torrents, showcasing their adaptation to this harsh environment.

What is the primary food source for a Swallow?

  • Seeds
  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Anything small enough to swallow

Correct Answer: Insects

Correct Answer Explanation: Swallows are voracious insect eaters, consuming hundreds of flies daily.

What is the primary nesting location for Sand-Martins?

  • In chimneys
  • In round towers
  • In open air
  • In caves dug in the sand

Correct Answer: In caves dug in the sand

Correct Answer Explanation: Sand-martins are known for their unique nesting habits, digging caves in the sand along riverbanks.

What is the primary food source for a Robin?

  • Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Insects and worms
  • Anything small enough to swallow

Correct Answer: Insects and worms

Correct Answer Explanation: Robins primarily feed on insects and worms, supplementing their diet with berries and fruits.

What unique anatomical feature does a swallow possess?

  • A long, slender beak
  • Split beaks, rounded heads, and no neck
  • Bright red breast feathers
  • Long, sharp talons

Correct Answer: Split beaks, rounded heads, and no neck

Correct Answer Explanation: Swallows are characterized by their split beaks, rounded heads, and lack of a visible neck, which contribute to their efficient flying style.

What is the primary nesting location for Robins?

  • In chimneys
  • In round towers
  • In open air
  • In tree cavities

Correct Answer: In tree cavities

Correct Answer Explanation: Robins prefer nesting in tree cavities, offering a secure and sheltered environment for their young.

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