Tuesday, April 7, 2020

F is for Falcons (Folktales of Endangered Species)

Welcome to the 2020 A to Z blogging challenge! This year my theme is Folktales of Endangered Species. I am researching cool traditional stories about rare, fascinating animals - to raise awareness of what we might lose if we don't get our collective shit together. Enjoy!

Species: Saker falcon (Falco cherrug)

Status: Endangered

The great Turul bird
Hungarian legend

According to Hungarian tradition, our nomadic tribes were led into what is now Hungary in the 9th century AD by seven chiefs. Their leader was named Álmos ('of a dream') for a dream his mother Emese saw when she was pregnant: she dreamed that a legendary Turul bird descended to her as her protector, and a spring welled up from her womb, symbolizing a line of great kings. Álmos' son, Árpád, founded the first Hungarian royal dynasty. The Turul is seen in Hungary as our collective mythical protector.
Legend also says that when the Hungarian tribes began migrating west to the Carpathians, they were led by the Turul bird to their new home. The Turul protected them and their livestock from eagles and vultures on the way.

(No one is entirely sure what kind of bird the Turul was, but most archaeological and folklore sources point to the saker falcon as the most likely candidate.)

Sources: Read the legend in English here.

How can I help?

Read about conservation efforts here, here and here.

If your family had a mythical protector bird, what would it be?


  1. Interesting legend. I love to hear the cries of falcons and hawks. They are so wild and fierce. We have a lot of red-tailed hawks around this area so maybe that would be my mythical protector bird.
    Lori at https://lorilmaclaughlin.com

  2. We can watch hawks gliding around from our solarium in the middle of the city. Once I saw one catch a rabbit. I cannot imagine my family having a mythical bird guardian, but I wish we did.
    Finding Eliza

  3. I live in Bahrain and the National bird here is Falcon. We have a huge statue of the bird in the country.
    Interesting tale!

  4. Falcons are such fascinating creatures. I love that lengend abotu the dream. And I love legends where humans and animals work together.

    The Old Shelter - Living the Twenties

  5. That is an amazing bird, I hope the conservation efforts go really well. Hmm ... I think if my family had a protector bird it would probably be a European Robin - small and plucky and takes no crap from anyone with slightly flashy taste in feathers.
    Tasha 💖
    Virginia's Parlour - The Manor (Adult concepts - nothing explicit in posts)
    Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles

  6. What an interesting legend! I love falcons. I think if my family had a protector bird it would be the barn owl. We used to raise them in our barn in the fens. They are beautiful creatures.

  7. Turul for Falcons- interesting.

  8. Mine would probably have the snowy owl. It is the 'vehicle' of the Indian goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of grace and prosperity, and is therefore revered across India. Even spotting one is an auspicious sign.

  9. Nice tale. If I had to have a bird protector, it would be a seagull, as we are sailors ;))
    F is for Free motion

  10. I would have to choose a member of the Corvus family, a crow or a raven. They are my favorite birds, and so smart. Not because I am calling my family "smart," I don't mean that, but because I love their attitude and how they figure things out, and are sassy. I am definitely not sassy. But, I love crows and ravens! I love how the crows watch me garden and make strange noises to keep me guessing what they are!

  11. Our ancestors certainly were much more tuned into the symbolism in their dreams. This is a fascinating legend! I always enjoy your A to Z posts. :)

    ~Tui Snider, @TuiSnider TuiSnider.com - Exploring Historic Cemeteries & Symbolism

  12. The Falcon is deeply revered in middle eastern cultures too.
    I'm finding it difficult to pick just one bird to be our family's protector as I like quite a few:)
    Love this origin story.

  13. Falcons are so cool!

    As for what bird would be my family’s protector, I’d say a crow like Lisa or a dove for me, as I’m clumsy like them.

  14. I have a soft spot for the Eagle family. They are majestic looking birds. (I followed my dad and got a tattoo of an eagle on my arm) :D So, obviously if our family had a mythical protector bird, it'd be the eagle.

  15. I don't know how protective they'd be, but I'm very fond of some of the little songbirds we have around here: wrens, titmice, chickadees...
    Black and White (Words and Pictures)

  16. It's a beautiful legend for a beautiful bird.

  17. I love all birds of prey. Fascinating ledgend. Thanks for sharing.

  18. My character Csilla has Turul bookplates, signed and dated, in the special books her future husband Imre recovers from her old house after World War II. I'm partial to the firebird in so many Slavic fairytale and folktales. For real birds, I really like the peafowl.