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A Murder, a Party, a Stare, or a Siege

What do you call a bunch of birds? a flock? a gaggle? or something more creative?

Collective nouns are a mixture of poetry, alliteration, and description. Victorians often made up names for groups of birds, as a parlor game. Many names bring a vision of the birds instantly to mind. How about this stare of owls? They're Burrowing Owls!

So what would a bunch of birders be called? A gaggle? A flock? A watch? Can you be more creative? Leave a comment below! Thanks.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
A Murder, a Party, a Stare, or a Siege?

Written by Ellen Blackstone

This is BirdNote!
[American Crow: one caw]
One crow is just a crow.
[American Crow: two caws]
Two make a pair. Three might be a crowd, but a group of crows is called “a murder.” [American Crow: many caws]
A fitting name for this bunch of rascals! How did such a name come about?
According to James Lipton, author of An Exaltation of Larks, [song of Western Meadowlark] these names—called collective nouns—have been around for hundreds of years. Others believe that the Victorians invented many of these names as a fanciful parlor game. Collective nouns are a mixture of poetry, alliteration, and description. These labels are not used by ornithologists, but they add a bit of fun to the study of birds, don’t you think?
[Song of Western Meadowlark]
If you’ve ever watched a parade of swans on a lake, you can see why it’s called a “wedge” of swans. Bold, raucous jays make up a “party” of jays. Many names bring an image of the birds instantly to mind: a “stare” of owls, a “company” of parrots, a “spring” of teal.
[Flock of “ducks” rising from water]
Now, here’s one that might be misnamed. Do you think all this noise should be called a “murmurration” of starlings?
[Chatter and squawk of European Starlings]
So what would a group of BirdNote listeners be? Hmmm? What’s your suggestion?  Let us know at birdnote.org.  I’m Michael Stein.  
###
Call of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Crows recorded by G.A. Keller and A.B. VandenBerg; Western Meadowlark by W.R. Fish; and flock of ducks 2479 rising from the water by A.A. Allen.
Sound of European Starlings provided by Martyn Stewart of naturesound.org. Ambient by C.Peterson
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org     September 2012     Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#091505nouns        language-01b

comments 12Show

BIRDS ROCK FORMATION

Since birders do more than "watch" and hopefully are not to aggressive in any "pursuit" how about calling a gathering of birders a Quest?

Because some may consider it an odd pastime, how about a "Folly" of birders!

We have flash mobs on you tube...how about flock mobs?

How about "A Peterson of birders"

How about an "Aviary of Bird Noters".

This is fun. How about a "Blossom of Birders".

How about- Feather Followers

I like "a harkening" of birders.

Here are some more ideas:
1) A commute of BirdNote listeners
2) An earful of BirdNote listeners
3) A wave of BirdNote listeners (as in radio waves)

I would like to propose a "bobble of BirdNote listeners." For myself, every time I hear the BirdNote theme, my head automatically starts bobbing. I imagine that is true for others.

Listen to us birders wax poetic and sing the praises of birds. I'd have to call us a "chorus of birders."

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