Weather vanes

 

 

A weather vane, also called wind vane or weather cock, is an instrument for showing the direction of the wind. It is typically used as an architectural ornament to the highest point of a building.

 

 

The most common subject depicted on weather vanes is the cock, or rooster, giving rise to the term weather cock. In the 9th Century, the Pope decreed that the rooster should figure on weather vanes on church domes or steeples, possibly as a symbol of Christianity, referring to the prophecy of Jesus that Peter would deny him three times, before the rooster would crow on the morning after the Last Supper. (Source: thoughtco.com/weather-vane-history-3444409)

Three examples of roosters, depicted on weather vanes:

 

 

Bornholm 2016a
From the island of Bornholm, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sverige 2015
On Föra Church, Öland, Sweden. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sverige 2016-18
On Källa Old Church, likewise on Öland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

In the 1800s, the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo ssp. sinensis) was persecuted all over Europe, partly because it was competing with fishermen, partly because its guano destroyed the trees, in which it was breeding. In Denmark, where it had been eradicated from almost the entire country, it was re-established as a breeding bird during the 1940s on Vorsø, a small island in Horsens Fjord, and, for a number of years, this island was home to the only colony of this bird in the entire country.

You may read more about this colony on the page Nature Reserve Vorsø: Night in the cormorant city.

 

 

Vorsø 1988-99
Naturally, a cormorant was chosen to adorn the weather vane on Vorsø. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

A popular theme on weather vanes is sailboats.

 

 

Bornholm 2008a
This one is from the islet of Christiansø, near Bornholm, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Another sailboat, depicted on a weather vane in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

Another popular theme is whales.

 

 

Californien 2013
This weather vane in the town of Mendocino, Californiea, probably depicts a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sverige 2015
This one from Alvedsjö Bodar, Öland, Sweden, depicts an unidentified whale. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Dolphin, depicted on a weather vane near Muriwai Beach, New Zealand. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

“(…) there was a man who was a hunter, and his name was Hunter.” – This weather vane on Funen, Denmark, depicts a hunter and his dog. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

Bornholm 2016a
This weather vane in the town of Melsted, Bornholm, Denmark, is suggestive of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale ’The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep’. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

The population of domestic pigs in Denmark is around 13 million, so it would seem strange, if this animal did not appear on weather vanes.

 

 

This weather vane on a farm house on the islet of Nyord, near Møn, Denmark, depicts a domestic pig. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

The owner of the weather vane in the pictures below, found on the island of Funen, Denmark, is named Bjørn (‘Bear’), so his choice of theme was obvious.

 

 

Fyn 2005-08
Fyn 2010-18
Fyn 2010-18
In the second picture, a male barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) chases away an intruder from this weather vane, on which his mate is sitting. Late in the summer, when young swallows have left their nest, many of them often gather on this ‘bear’ (bottom), in this case mostly barn swallows, and also two house martins (Delichon urbica). (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Fyn 2005-08
Young barn swallows and house martins, gathered on a weather vane, depicting a horse, likewise on Funen, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

Due to widespread usage of DDT and other pesticides, the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) – or, more properly, the white-headed eagle, as it is not at all bald – was largely eradicated from the Lower Fifty American States in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, fortunately, the population of this iconic bird is again increasing, among other places in California.

 

 

Californien 2013
In California, the bald eagle is often depicted on weather vanes, in this case in the town of Mendocino. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

Bornholm 2016a
This humouristic weather vane in the town of Gudhjem, Bornholm, Denmark, depicts a bird, sitting on a pig. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

Norden 1992-98
The moose (Alces alces) is very common in Sweden, and, naturally, it is often depicted on weather vanes, in this case in Himmelsberga, Öland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

 

Bornholm 2008a
Fishing is an important trade on the island of Bornholm, Denmark, making the choice of this flatfish, depicted on a weather vane in the town of Gudhjem, quite appropriate. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

(Uploaded August 2018)

 

(Latest update November 2019)