Zugunruhe

Defining Zugunruhe

From the German ‘zug’, meaning movement or migration and ‘unruhe’, meaning anxiety, unrest; used by German and English speakers to describe ‘migratory restlessness’, especially in birds.

Gathering before the flight from Roebuck Bay, Western Australia

Gathering before the flight from Roebuck Bay, Western Australia

Gathering before the flight from Heathrow

Gathering before the flight from London Heathrow

Photos Ricki Coughlan/Broome Bird Observatory; David Levene/theguardian.com

Describing Zugunruhe

‘…the evening, the night and the morning, [it is] as if they feel in themselves then something I do not know what which obliges them to leave the place where they are…And it is this instinct and inner guide that makes them fly by a favourable wind directly to the place where they want to go.’

from Traité du Rossignol (A Treatise on the Nightingale), Anon, 1707. Quoted in The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology, Tim Birkhead, Bloomsbury (2008)

Observing Zugunruhe

Annual migration of red crabs, Christmas Island, Indian Ocean

Annual migration of red crabs, Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, Australia

Asylum seekers on board SS Tampa, heading from Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, Austraiia

Asylum seekers on board MV Tampa, heading for Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, Australia 2001

Migrants arriving in Australia 1954

Migrants arriving in Australia 1954

Photos: Allison K Shaw/National Geographic; uncredited/www.abc.net.au; uncredited/Australian National Archives

Articulating Zugunruhe

‘…is this how this country is going to answer you

and your immodest demands for a different world,

and a better life, and complete comprehension

of both at last, and immediately..?’

 from Arrival at Santos by Elizabeth Bishop

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s