Thursday, April 26, 2007


What are the people in this picture doing?


j.gluszak said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tristram Brelstaff said...

Is this the chaffinch singing contest that was on the Hairy Biker's TV program the other night? It was so bizarre I felt sure it must be a hoax.

pluvialis said...

Damn, you saw it too. It is! Isn't it the most extraordinary bird-related activity going?


In some areas of Western Belgium, finching (also called finch singing contests or finch song contests or vinkenzetting) is a popular sport. In a finching contest, a number of cages each housing a male finch are lined up, usually along a street. Every time the bird sings its song (which should be the correct tune!) this is marked with a chalk stripe on a wooden stick, and the bird singing its song the most times during one hour wins the contest.

Vinkenzetting, from the Dutch for finch-sitting, is a traditional sport played primarily in the Flemish regions of Belgium. Participants sit in front of caged finches and count how many times each finch sings a particular birdsong (most often transcribed as suskewiet).

The oldest known records of vinkenzetting are from 1593; however, it is believed to be considerably older, as the 1593 records were in a context implying that any reader would already be familiar with it.

By the late nineteenth century, vinkenzetting's popularity had diminished significantly; however, it saw a resurgence after the First World War, largely because of the large number of newly-blinded veterans who considered themselves unable to participate in other sports. As of 2006, it is estimated that there are over 13000 vinkenier, or "finch-holders".

Reid Farmer said...

And here I thought those were starter boxes for a rat race!

fatrobot said...

no, they are showing off their western grey phase speckled nothawks
who are sitting on top of the boxes

Chas S. Clifton said...

Where is the drinking game part? A drink every time the bird sings would make this more interesting. Has vinkenzetting been cleaned up for television?

Matt Mullenix said...

I thought they were apprentice snake charmers.