Black and White

The Oystercatcher is one of the most beautiful birds I know. It came as a pleasant surprise to learn that it's the Faroe Islands' national bird that can be seen everywhere.
From Faroe Islands 2016
I suppose the main reason why the Tjaldur is so popular is its role in the Faroese Independence movement. In the beginning of the 19th century, Nólsoyar Páll wrote the poem "Fuglakvæði" (Ballad of the Birds), in which birds of prey symbolise the Danish authorities, and the poet himself warns the smaller birds in the guise of an oystercatcher. Nólsoyar Páll was a jack-of-all-trades: a seaman, trader, poet, farmer and boat builder. A bit like many people at the Faroe Islands today.

In the harbour at Torshavn, there's a statue by Hans Pauli Olsen depicting Nólsoyar Páll. You actually have to view it from different angles to get the whole picture - the birds, Nólsoyar Páll, the sails, the oars, the lookout. A bit like you have to do with an Oystercatcher to understand its full splendour.

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