“The Bird's Courting Song (The Hawk and the Crow; Leatherwing Bat)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1733 (broadside, Bodleian Harding Douce Ballads 2(243b)); other broadsides appear to date back to the seventeenth century "Woody Querristers" in the Roxburge collection
Keywords: bird courting nonballad
Found in: Ireland US(Ap,MW,NE,SE,So)


Various birds talk about their attempts at courting, and the effects of their successes and failures. Example: "Said the hawk to the crow one day, Why do you in mourning stay, I was once in love and I didn't prove fact, And ever since I wear the black."


Cox's "Pourquoi" title is, in effect, the French term for "Just So Story"; Cox applied it because the piece he collected (in Missouri, though from an informant born in Kentucky) had no title. - RBW

Cross references




  1. Randolph 275, "The Crow Song" (5 texts, 1 tune, but only the first three texts are this piece, with the "B" and "C" texts mixing with "The Crow Song (I)")
  2. BrownIII 152, "Birds Courting" (3 texts plus an excerpt; the "D" text may be mixed); also 156, "Said the Blackbird to the Crow" (the "D" text mixes this with "The Crow Song (I)")
  3. JHCoxIIB, #20, pp. 170-171, "Pourquoi" (1 text, tune, probably amplified as it carefully has birds of all colors including some rarely encountered in nature)
  4. Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 193, (no title) (1 fragment, probably this)
  5. SharpAp 215, "The Bird Song" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  6. Kennedy 295, "The Hawk and the Crow" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Lomax-FSUSA 4, "Leatherwing Bat" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Sharp/Karpeles-80E 73, "The Bird Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. Botkin-NEFolklr, pp. 573-574, "Bird's Courting Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  10. Abrahams/Foss, pp. 90-91, "Bird Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Silber-FSWB, p. 397, "Leatherwing Bat" (1 text)
  12. BBI, ZN968, "Give ear you lads and lasses all" (?); ZN2037, "Oh says the Cuckoo, loud and stout"; ZN2038, "Oh says the Cuckoo loud and stout"
  14. ADDITIONAL: Bell/O Conchubhair, Traditional Songs of the North of Ireland, pp. 49-51, "The Hawk and the Crow" (1 text, 1 tune)
  15. Roud #747
  16. BI, K295