Barneblad: Alle fugler små de er

A monthly feature to share with kids and grandkids

alle fuglerBrought to you by LORI ANN REINHALL
The Norwegian American

It’s springtime—we can hear it—all the little birds are back! They fill our mornings with cheerful birdsong in the sunlight. Who can be unhappy when you hear them chirping away?

“Alle fugler små de er” is one of the most beloved spring songs in Norway. It describes the melodic welcoming of spring, as the birds chase away the frost and the snow. Singing it will make you feel happy, and you can also learn about the birds:

Gjøk: The cuckoo is associated with spring with its loud call. Many of you may have a cuckoo clock, so you know what it sounds like. Some describe it like a whistle, flute, or even hiccups.

Trost: The thrush is plump, soft-feathered bird, who lives in the woods. Thrushes often have specks on their underside, and they even lay little speckled eggs.

Stær: The starling is known for having very strong feet. They are very clever vocalists, and some have been known to mimic sounds from their surroundings into their own calls, including car alarms and human speech. 

Sisik: The linnet is a small bird that loves to eat flax seeds. Flax is the English name for the plant from which linen is made, and the linnet gets its name from there. 

Lerka: The lark is known as the messenger of daybreak and is closely associated with love. What a wonderful way to wake up on a bright spring morning! [Image: Pixabay]

Now it’s time for some birdsong activities!

Listen to the song “Alle fugler små de er” and try to learn the words:

You may also want to sing along or even play it on an instrument:

Language learning can be so much fun that you often don’t even realize that you’re learning something. 

Here’s a game that you and your friends and family are sure to enjoy.

  • Sit in a circle with the other players with your hands in your lap.  This game can also be played at home one-on-one or in a small family group.
  • One person is the leader and says, “Alle fugler små de er: Gjøk—cuckoo!”
  • If you hear the name of a bird, raise your arms to the sky and let them fall like a flying bird.
  • The leader then calls out the next cue: “Alle fugler små de er: Sol—sun!”
  • No one should raise up their hands. Sol—sun—is not a bird.  
  • The leader continues to call out bird names and other familiar things.
  • You can repeat the game several times until you’ve learned all the words. During the fourth round, the leader can leave out the English translations—and you know what?—you’ll have learned the Norwegian words!

Finally, the artist in you may be inspired by the little birds of spring. What better time to break out your crayons to draw and color the gjøk, sisik, trost, stær, and lerka!

This article originally appeared in the April 17, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.