European languages are replete with surnames based on various types of birds. In English, you have Crow, Hawk, Starling, Nightingale, Lark, Pi(d)geon, Sparrow, Sparrowhawk, etc. The problem is trying to determine which characteristics of these individual birds led to their being used as nicknames. Was it their quickness, color, pleasant song, annoying squawks, or what? So it is with siskin. Somebody obviously thought that somebody else looked or acted like one but I have no idea what was actually involved.
This message was edited by the author on February 6, 2009 at 1:56:29 PM
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