Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's All in a Name

My wildlife blog list now covers countries all around the world.  It is so very interesting to read about different birding experiences, visit new landscapes, and view the gorgeous pictures of birds I've never heard of before!  I've learned many new words as I've read through these posts!  So when I spotted an article entitled:  Names of Groups of Birds, my interest was peeked.  Here is what I found in a nutshell: 
"The collective nouns for different groups of birds can be a fun bit of birding lingo to use when describing what you see in the field."  Here is a list from Melissa Mayntz in an article she wrote for Birding.

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
Jays: Band, party, scold
Larks: Bevy, exaltation, ascension
Owls: Parliament, wisdom, study
Pelicans: Squadron, pod, scoop
Penguins: Colony, huddle
Pheasants: Nye, bevy, bouquet
Plovers: Congregation : Host, quarrel, knot
Starlings: Chattering, affliction
•Swallows: Flight, gulp
Swans: Wedge, ballet, lamentation
Woodpeckers: Descent
Wrens: Herd
Ravens: Murder, congress, horde
Rooks: Clamour, parliament
Sparrows, chime

I do so like the sound of "a charm of hummingbirds" or "a chime of sparrows"!  A "congress of ravens"!  And sometimes, "an affliction of starlings" is exactly right!! 


walk2write said...

I thought the words associated with pelicans were interesting, especially if you manipulate them a bit. When a whole squadron of them converge, that pod and scoop might as well merge.

KaHolly said...

W2W, we had fun with this at dinnertime ourselves, making up new terms for different 'groups' of wildlife, not just birds! We had a few good laughs! ~karen

Carrie P. said...

Very interesting! A murder of crows or ravens. Very funny.
Charm fits the hummingbird just right.

Diane AZ said...

I've always been fascinated by collective nouns. A kettle of hawks and a bouquet of pheasants sound amusing. I recently learned that a group of cedar waxwings is an ear-full or a museum. :D

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Oh thanks for posting this, we will definitely be incorporating some of these terms as soon we learn which birds which ---
We are such amateurs at birding!
-We just like the way they look, but we are learning more and more from our new birding blog friends.
: )
Have a great week.
Darryl and Ruth

John said...


I am please to let you know that I have awarded you the Sunshine Award for your blog. Please see my blog on how to collect. Very well deserved...


Rambling Woods said...

this is great..i wish i had thought of it..i like the 'quarrel' of plovers...wonder where all these words came from....michelle

Unseen Rajasthan said...

This is so interesting !! Nice post !!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Karen: That is a great list. Surely had a chattering of starling in the yard today.

Martha Miller said...

Great List!! Thanks! I've always loved the charm of hummingbirds! Of course there can be bumming herds of hummingbirds - that's not so charming! :*)

Anonymous said...

"affliction" surely belongs with "starlings" but a "murder of crows" remains my favorite. "a parliament of owls is a close second"

Carver said...

What fun. I love these.

Jenn Jilks said...

Thank you for visiting My Muskoka !

Great post. I found a poem about this. I must post it!

Self Sagacity said...

I love looking and learning about bird, I don't see much around me, but little hummingbirds, do come around sometime. Nice post!

magiceye said...

so very interesting!

Kay said...

Thanks for the great list, Karen! I had just looked up the collective noun for jays today because I keep meaning to write about my green jays--a group is called a scold, which is a perfect description! In writing my last post I looked up Caracaras and found that a group of falcons can be a "bazaar" which I thought was interesting. (I don't think I wrote that in the post but I thought of it today as I saw three of the big birds sitting in the same tree as we returned home from a visit to our daughters.)
Your post, as always is great! I agree about the hummingbirds. -kay

Kay said...

I like the words that evoke images of the birds eating: a scoop of pelicans, a gulp of swallows. And the ones that make us hear their sounds: a scold of Jays; an exaltation of Larks; a chattering of starlings, lamentation of swans, chime of sparrows--really delightful! Thank you, Karen, for bringing this to us.

lisaschaos said...

I'll never be able to remember them all but I'd like to. Some are so cute!

Marinela said...

Very interesting this post!

KaHolly said...

Thank you, all, for stopping by my post! It was so nice to read your comments. Marinela, thank you for becoming a follower! ~karen

Anonymous said...

I missed the "herd of Wrens" first time through. Good luck with that - you think herding cats is hard?