The Scythians were archers and horsemen in the Russian steppes.
In an interview with the A.V. Club website, Bird mentioned that melodies are easier for him to write than lyrics. He was fascinated with the Scythians in 8th grade, so he decided to challenge himself to write a song about them as a way to jump-start his songwriting process. (reference: The A.V. Club Interview with Andrew Bird )
Andrew Bird is a violinist trained in the Suzuki method. The Suzuki method is based on the idea that all children can develop musical ability the same way that they develop language skills. Students as young as preschool age are taught to play instruments, most commonly the violin, using this method.
In addition to his solo career, Bird performed as a member of the swing band Squirrel Nut Zippers.