Not your average flock of birds

Cedar Waxwings

A "museum" of cedar waxwings (Photo credit: wburris)

Interesting how bird people are often also word people.

As I wait for the Cornell Lab to post the Day Two ballot in its “March Migration Madness” gulla, a fun review. What are the proper collective nouns for all of the species competing on the MMM bracket?

Answers provide not only insight to the bird’s behavior, but make great opening lines at parties — that is, if you prefer the more solitary life of the red-eyed vireo (although its atypical grouping is referred to as a “hangover” of red-eyed vireos, quite the festive line).

Starting with Day One’s winner …

  • Black-capped chickadee: “Banditry” or “dissimulation” of chickadees
  • Dark-eyed junco: “Crew,” “flutter,” “meinie,” “quarrel” or “ubiquity” of juncos (even its collective nouns are cuter, it shoulda won)
  • Northern cardinal: “College,” “conclave,” “deck,” “radiance” or, my fave, “Vatican” of cardinals
  • Downy woodpecker: “Descent,” “drumming” or “gatling” of woodpeckers
  • Bald eagle: “Aerie,” “convocation,” “jubilee,” “soar” or “tower” of eagles
  • Northern mockingbird: “Echo,” “exactness,” “plagiary” or “ridicule” of mockingbirds
  • Snowy owl: “Bazaar,” “glaring,” “parliament,” “stooping” or “wisdom” of owls
  • Yellow warbler: “Stream,” “sweetness” or “trepidation” of warblers
  • White-breasted nuthatch: “Jar” of nuthatches
  • Peregrine falcon: “Bazaar,” “eyrie,” “ringing,” stooping up” or “tower” of falcons
  • Cedar waxwing: “Ear-full” or “museum” of waxwings, hahahaha
  • Wood duck: “Brace,” “flush,” “paddling,” “raft” or “team” of ducks (applies to most ducks)
  • Tufted titmouse: “Banditry” or “dissimulation” of titmice (same as chickadee)
  • Whooping crane: “Construction,” “dance,” “sedge,” “siege” or “swoop” of cranes
  • Great blue heron: “Battery,” “hedge,” “pose,” “rookery” or “scattering” of herons
  • Pileated woodpecker: “Crown” of woodpeckers (hmmm … does that mean it should rule the roost and win it all?)

Maybe this will help you fill out your brackets. Play here.

Source: iBird Explorer Pro for iPad 2

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