Tartu Ülikool

Tiksu the mascot


Legend of Tiksu 

Legend has it that Tiksu hatched out right at the moment of sunrise, giving it an extraordinary thirst for learning. Tiksu's home nest was in a thick forest, where it was hard for the sunrays to peek through the canopy, and the blue sky could be seen only when strong winds pushed the lush branches apart. As the chick's feathers grew, so did its insatiable curiosity. Tiksu loved interacting with other birds and animals – the entire forest was its family, telling Tiksu stories of adventures in the world beyond the forest wall. Tiksu was particularly fascinated by stories about the city and the people who lived there. Tiksu kept asking its parents and other forest dwellers questions about the world, and by the time its tiny wings were strong enough to fly, others could no longer answer them. 

One warm summer's day, Tiksu noticed a man near its nest – the first person it had ever met. The man was dressed in green, he moved slowly, and the forest floor crunched beneath his big feet. Tiksu watched the visitor keenly, excitement pounding in its chest. The way the man stroked the tree trunks, studied the canopy and watched the songbirds gave Tiksu the impression that the forest was his family too. Perhaps he could answer Tiksu's questions?


The man sat down, leaned his back against a spruce, sipped tea from his vacuum flask, and grabbed a bun from his lunch box. The seed topping on the bun attracted the young bird's special attention. Tiksu had never seen such a variety of seeds before. It boldly flew up to the branch closest to the man, who spotted the bird immediately. When the visitor greeted the bird, Tiksu discovered that it understood human language and that they could speak to each other. The man said he was an ornithologist and worked at a mysterious place called the university, which was located in the city. With beaming eyes, Tiksu listened to his stories of science, studies and students who were just as curious as Tiksu. The big-footed ornithologist came to the forest every week until the end of summer, and their friendship grew over delicious seed mix and story-telling. 

When autumn came, Tiksu's new friend said that his teaching job was about to start, so he would not be able to visit the forest as often. By then, Tiksu's dream of seeing the mysterious university had grown so big that the bird could think of nothing else. Tiksu also wanted to see all the students the birdwatcher had spoken so warmly about. The time had come to fly out of the nest, so Tiksu set on the adventure and left for Tartu. Finding its ornithologist friend was rather complicated because the university was so big and there were so many buildings, and the lecturers wore clothes very different from the ones Tiksu's friend had been wearing in the forest. So, the bird started peeking into the windows of all the lecture halls, fascinated by its new friend's large and diverse family. The students, in turn, also got excited when they saw Tiksu at the window, tapping its beak against the glass. Sometimes Tiksu even managed to fly in through an open window and listen to a whole lecture, hiding behind the curtains. It was so exciting to learn! 

One fine autumn day shrouded in golden leaves, Tiksu finally saw its new friend on Toome hill. He was sitting on a bench, drinking tea. The sun-warmed bun on his knee seemed to have a particularly delicious seed topping. The joy of meeting again lit up the eyes of both, and the big-footed ornithologist gladly took his friend in his care. That moment, Tiksu became a full member of the university family. 


More information

Mariana Tulf. When the university mascot becomes a theme for memes. 17.09.2021

The winner of the University of Tartu mascot contest has been announced. 07.01.2021

University of Tartu is looking for a mascot. 03.11.2020

Tiksu's Instagram.

Find Tiksu merchandise at the UT shop

Have you ever thought about what it must be like to see the world through Tiksu's eyes?

What does it feel like to be this famous blue bird and greet the university family? Now it is your chance to try it! The use of the mascot is organised by a team of volunteers led by the university’s Marketing Unit. If you would like to try what it is like to be inside a mascot or to lead a team of volunteers, write to the Marketing Unit of the university at

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