Angry birds get that way when you forget to feed them in desperate times. At least Estonian tihased (chickadees), those spirited, curious characters who make no bones about tapping on your window pane. They don't look angry when they tap, just uudishimulikud (inquisitive). But the ones on the packages of päeva/lille/seemned (sunflower seeds) are really good at guilt-tripping. On the wrapper they ask ette/heitvalt reproachfully: "Endale ostsid küll süüa… AGA MULLE?" "You bought yourself something to eat… BUT (WHAT ABOUT) ME?"
The catch phrase "Kas sina tihaseid oled toitnud?" (Have you fed the chickadees (yet)?) is well-known. If memory serves me correctly, there was a poster posing the question that made the rounds during the Soviet era.
For some, Angry Birds means one distinct thing: a highly popular, highly addictive, "clever and challenging" virtual puzzler game created a few years ago by a couple of bright Finnish lads. Being a technical slacker, I heard talk of Vihased linnud a mere few months ago. 5 year-old Joosep was hounding his Dad to please let him play "linnu/mängu" on his nuti/telefon (smartphone). My two girls cozied up on either side and watched in amazement. Since then my older child has expressed a previously non-existent interest in "mängud sinu telefonis" (games on my mobile phone), which to her great disappointment I don't know tuhkagi about. (Nutin'. Not even a puff of ash…) What I do know is Angry Birds must be purchased, albeit for an extremely low price. That is a huge part of their appeal. Say, if you're in a lennu/jaam (airport) and your kids are turning antsy (sipelgad püksis) and getting a new level of LINNUD costs about as much as a snack – for you or the linnud…
The first verse of Juhan Liiv's classic, beloved poem Talvine tihane / Winter Chickadee, known by most Estonians:
Tihane lendab mu aknale, (A chickadee flies to my window,)
kaela alt valge, kõht kollane, (white beneath his neck, belly yellow,)
nokib, nokitab, vaatab targasti (pecks, picks, looks knowingly)
sisse – tihase viis on see –, (inside – such is the chickadee's way -,)
kaela alt valge, kõht kollane! (white beneath his neck, belly yellow.)