Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Birds of Feather

      I know that starlings are considered a ‘nuisance’ bird and an invasive, but I can’t help but be amused by them.  They still swarm my pear tree on occasion to get the last of the little, brown mushy fruits that cling to the branches.   They also seem to love the suet cake I have at my feeder.  Watching the flock swirl and swarm in unison as they move from tree to feeder is like watching a synchronized swimming event.  Mesmerizing!

      While hunting online for more information about these maligned creatures, I discovered that a flock of them is called a “chatter” or an “affliction”.  So interesting.  Even their flock name is amusing.   I discovered many flocks go by another name.  Here are a few: 
·  Birds of Prey (hawks, falcons): Cast, cauldron, kettle
·  Cormorants: Flight
·  Crows: Murder, congress, horde
·  Ducks: Raft, team, paddling
·  Eagles: Convocation, congregation
·  Finches: Charm
·  Flamingos: Flamboyance
·  Game Birds (quail, grouse, ptarmigan): Covey, pack, bevy
·  Geese: Skein, wedge, gaggle, plump
·  Gulls: Colony
·  Herons: Siege, sedge, scattering
·  Hummingbirds: Charm

      Now, come up with a flock name for your family or group.  It should suit you as the starlings’ does.   Extend the activity to other creatures.  For example, a group of golden retrievers could be called a ‘love’.   There are more storms still ahead, so this topic could be a way to pass a snowy afternoon.  You may come up with a name that will stick for years! 

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