Thursday, August 7, 2008

Top 5 Collective Nouns for Birds, Part II

While discussing the many titles for a collective of birds, Alex and I realized that five were not enough. Here are my favorites.

5. A conspiracy of ravens/A storytelling of ravens
Baltimore, the city Edgar Allen Poe called home for most of his life, isn’t exactly the most upbeat city in the world. For one, it has a terrible disparity between wealth and poverty that makes Newark look like Disneyland and I hear they have 24 hour metered parking, just to add to the depression of having to park your car there. They also have a football team, the Ravens, named after the Poe poem which depicts the tragic tale of a lovelorn student pining for his Lenore, with the famous bird replying to the ever maddening questions with “Nevermore.” So it only makes sense that a group of these creatures be accompanied by the most cryptic of words. When I saw these pairings I thought to myself, “That’s soooo Raven.”
4. A peep of chicks
One of my favorite rites of passage as a child was the classroom batch of chicks. For a few months in the third grade the class would wait with bated breath for the little incubated eggs to crack open, praying to God that it didn’t happen overnight or during a weekend. Finally, when these balls of cuteness emerged the first thing they saw were the snotty faces of seven year olds (Mommy?). The worst part was, we never got to touch them and it killed us. They were so yellow and fluffy and pure, and if we touched them with our Elmer’s glue encrusted hands the farm chickens would smell our humanness on them and brutally maim them to death.
3. A murmuration of starlings
Planet Earth, the documentary known for being one of Oprah’s favorite things featured a segment of starlings depicting their curious ability to mimic strange sounds like car alarms and human speech patterns. Also, does anyone else remember the murmuration of starlings who were ripping a bank off by flying into the coil slot and stealing quarters. These are shifty characters, and I don't trust them.

2. A phalanx of storks
What the hell is a phalanx? It’s an ancient Greek military term meaning “a formation of infantry carrying overlapping shields and long spears, intended to kidnap babies.” Ok, so I made up the baby part, but if you look at storks, they have long, spear like beaks and can get pretty militant, especially around children.
1. A gulp of swallows
It’s easy to understand why this is my favorite. It’s such a great pun. Get it? Gulp! Swallows! I love it! Look at this picture of cups, with gulps of swallows on them!
Runners up:
A twack of ducks, a bellowing of bullfinches

1 comment:

N said...

I found this post both educational and entertaining. Kudos.xwsmruia