by Phil Baarda and Derek Robertson
As we know, St Columba, Colmcille, came to Scotland from overseas and has become an iconic part of our culture and history. So too have many familiar and not-so-familiar plant and animals. In more recent times, these wildlife colonisers – migrating northwards as our climate changes, or otherwise helped here by human hands – are so new to Scotland they don’t have a Gaelic name, which is something this exciting project is beginning to address.
From the Bird’s Mouth, Bho Bheul an Eòin, is naming the new! Through a process of research and consultation, with advice from scientists, researchers and Gaelic writers, the project will give Gaelic names these new Scots, and tell the story of their colonisation through poetry and prose, through a high-quality art book with an interactive website – and, when possible, a travelling exhibition.
This exciting partnership project features award-winning and highly-acclaimed wildlife artist Derek Robertson, with support from NatureScot (formally Scottish Natural Heritage) and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
There’s an additional resonance with Colmcille. The symbol of Columba is the dove – species of the genus Columbidae. The Collared Dove – the Calman-coilearach – first nested in Scotland in 1957 after rapidly expanding from its place of origin in the Middle East and Asia. Despite the sandy camouflage colours of its plumage, the Calman-coilearach has now reached the furthermost island refuges of the saints who came to preach the words of a religion born in the deserts of the East.
You will be able to find the From the Bird’s Mouth, Bho Bheul an Eòin, webpages from https://www.derekrobertson.com/ which also shows Derek’s other remarkable wildlife artwork.