Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bay - the color, not the place

Beth and I had a discussion on the term "bay" as in "Bay-breasted Warbler" today. I had crippling views (as the Brits would say) of one yesterday at Sandy Hook. I was without camera of course due to an insane amount of fog and mist. Of course, the mist lifted momentarily and gave pretty decent light on the warbler. Ugh. Anyway, Beth had never heard the term "bay" used to describe a color, so I did some research. It's a term typically reserved for the brown color in horses and typically those with a black mane contrasting with the brown body. Here are some photos for comparison.


Kallen305 said...

I was wondering why they called the warbler a Bay-breasted. I guess it all makes sense now.

Such a gorgeous bird and one I was able to see this year at Mount Auburn in Cambridge, MA

Rick said...

And of course, Bay-winged Bunting, Bay-winged Hawk, etc. I'd suggest that the word is "dead," though, and that no new names will ever be coined using it.

Anonymous said...

I like horses too. And that is a nice portrait.

OpposableChums said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OpposableChums said...

As the antiquated and un-PC Stephen Foster song goes:

"I bet my money on the Bob-tail nag,
Somebody bet on the Bay."

For extra points, in what familiar song does that first horse also appear in?

Beth said...

I'm going to guess the song you're referring to is Jingle Bells.

Also, this still doesn't answer my question. Why is the word bay used to describe a color? Who decided to use it for those horses? Hmmmmm......

OpposableChums said...

A shiny gold (virtual) dubloon to Beth:

"Bells on Bob-tail ring,
making spirits bright."

As far as I know, the word "bay," referring to a reddish-brown color, comes from the original, untreated color of baize, a woolen material.