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Convocations, Coveys and Charms

Collective nouns abound in the avian world!
© Marcia O'Connor View Large

Everybody’s heard of a gaggle of geese and a covey of quail. But what’s a group of penguins called? And a “conspiracy” of ravens? Maybe the way we label birds says more about us than it does about them.

Support for BirdNote comes from American Bird Conservancy and Bringing Back the Birds, a photo book by Owen Deutsch on the importance of protecting birdscapes. Available at Amazon.com.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Convocations, Coveys and Charms

By Monica Gokey

This is BirdNote.

[Group of Mallards]

When birds get together, we humans have a knack for assigning them some clever and unusual names.

Most of us know the common ones… a covey of quail, a parliament of owls, a gaggle of geese.

[Canada Geese]

But what about a group of penguins? Well, it depends. On land they’re called a waddle or sometimes a huddle. But on the water, they’re a “raft” of penguins.

[Emperor Penguins]

Here’s another: a charm of hummingbirds. Take the Anna’s Hummingbird --

[darting flight sounds of Anna’s Hummingbird]

The way its iridescent plumage catches the sun, it’s like a flying jewel, darting from flower to flower. *Now, you’re not likely to see hummingbirds in groups in the wild, but the whole picture is charming, indeed. [Bzzz! Bzzz!]

A convocation of eagles.

[Bald Eagle sounds]

Does that sound “stately” to you?

What about a conspiracy of ravens. Are they truly conspiring about something? Or do we just perceive them as untrustworthy?

[Common Raven sounds]

Maybe the way we label birds says more about us than it does about them.

[raven croak]

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.

Support for BirdNote comes from American Bird Conservancy and Bringing Back the Birds, a photo book by Owen Deutsch on the importance of protecting birdscapes. Available at amazon dot com.
###
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
Editor: Ashley Ahearn
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill
Narrator: Mary McCann
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Mallards, LNS# 3430, recorded by AA Allen. Canada Geese LNS# 60842 recorded by WWH Gunn. Emperor Penguins, from YouTube, recorded by Anthony Powell. Anna's Hummingbird, LNS# 6121, recorded by DG Allen.  Bald Eagle recorded by J Storm. Common Raven, LNS# 107326, recorded by WL Hershberger.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2019 BirdNote   November 2019

ID#  language-08-2019-11-22   language-08

For more collective nouns, see https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1969/1/29/an-exaltation-of-larks-pan-...

https://www.birdnote.org/show/murder-party-stare-or-siege

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