Viking Saga Songs. 7: Birds of the North

The song is a celebration of Scandinavian birds. Birds also feature in the story: Loki flies to Jotunheim as a falcon to rescue Iduna; then he transforms her into a sparrow for the journey back...but Thiassi is after them!

Tutorial 7: 'Birds of the North'

Tutorial: 'Birds of the North'

00 00: Listening to the chorus of the song, beginning: 'Birds of the North...' Joining in with the words 'Windward drifting...'
02 00: Learning about the importance of birds to the Vikings and listening to a sequence of bird calls.
04 16: Putting the whole of the chorus together, noting that the phrase 'Birds of the North...' comes four times.
05 34: Learning Verse 1, beginning: 'Sparrow and Falcon...' Noting that each verse has just five notes, that rise and fall.
08 22: Learning Verse 2, beginning: Raven and Eagle...' Noting that the last word of the verse should be sustained.
10 10: Singing the chorus, then going straight on to sing Verse 3, beginning: 'Seagull and Curlew...' and ending with seawash sounds.
11 20: Learning the coda, repeating the words 'Windward drifting' three times.

The saga: The apples of Iduna - Part 3

Story: The Apples of Iduna - part 3


The consequences of Loki's actions are clear for all to see - without Iduna and her apples the gods are growing old and frail.

Heimdall reveals that he saw Loki speaking with Thiassi in Iduna's garden and Odin orders Loki to find a solution to their predicament - he, after all, is the cause of it.

Loki transforms into a falcon and flies to Thiassi's castle in Jotunheim, where he turns Iduna into a sparrow and her basket into an apple pip and the two of them set off for Asgard.

See Resources below for a quiz about the story.

The saga: The apples of Iduna - Part 4

Story: The Apples of Iduna - part 4


Loki and Iduna are flying as fast as they can back to Asgard...but Thiassi, in giant eagle disguise once more, is after them.

Odin and Heimdall watch from the battlements of Asgard as the birds approach. Odin orders Heimdall to make a bonfire then, when Loki and Iduna tumble through the smoke, Heimdall fans the flames. Thiassi's wings are burned and he tumbles to the ground.

Everything is back to normal: Iduna and her apples have been returned and the gods have their youth restored. There's just one issue to resolve - will Iduna agree to allow Loki to have an apple?

See Resources below for a quiz about the story.

Song 7: Birds of the North

Sing with the full vocal version of 'Birds of the North' from Viking Saga Songs. Once you have learnt the song by singing along with the vocal version you could try singing with just the backing track.

Song 7: 'Birds of the North' (vocal)
Song 7: 'Birds of the North' (backing)

Listening music: an extract from the 3rd movement of Symphony No 5 by Jean Sibelius

An extract from 3rd Movement, Symphony No 5 by Sibelius.

The extract is a famous melody from the Symphony No 5 by Jean Sibelius, composed in 1915. The melody is said to have been inspired by the calls of swans (YouTube video) after Sibelius watched a large number of the birds taking off one day.

  • What can the children say about the rhythm and tempo (speed) of the music?
  • Which part of the music may have been inspired by the swans’ call?
  • What aspects of the music might be said to create the image of swans in flight?


Teachers' Notes
Pupils' Pamphlet
Meet the characters
Tutorial 7 - transcript
Birds of the North - lyrics
Birds of the North - music
Story transcript 1
Story transcript 2

More from Viking Saga Songs

4. Sing us a saga
5. Thor on a journey
6. Apples of Iduna