A murder of crows and then some


photo by Susan Kauffmann

The coincidences we experience in life would often be unbelievable in fiction. Right now, I’m in the midst of re-reading ‘Of Human Bondage’ by Somerset Maugham (1874-1965). I  imagined not many people are thinking about that book today, but lo and behold, watching the first segment of a series on Netflix, two incarcerated men are shown discussing ‘Of Human Bondage’. Interesting, no?

Last month I wrote about meeting a stranger under ‘a murder of crows’ because I love that these birds are called a ‘murder’ when they gather in a group. My friend Sandy, while reading my post, happened to have a copy of ‘Country Life’ magazine next to her. The cover reads ‘A murder of crows and other curiosities’. Sandy couldn’t resist. She arrived at my door with a copy of the cover and a page showing some delightful terms for collective nouns

a flaboyance of flamingos

A flamboyance of flamingos

of creatures. Here are a few I truly enjoyed: A wake of buzzards. A charm of goldfinches. A deceit of lapwings. A scold of jays. A commotion of coots. An asylum of cuckoos. A trembling of finches. A conspiracy of ravens. A parliament of rooks. A murmuration of starlings. A fall of woodcock. (Thank you Sandy.)

a volt-of-vultures

A volt of vultures

My dear daughter Susan, who knows me well, gave me such a list some years ago, which, I enjoyed so much, I still have it AND I even knew where to find it. (A miracle in itself.) I’ve always liked ‘a brood of hens’ ‘a cauldron of raptors’, ‘a gaggle of geese’, ‘a convocation of eagles’, an ostentation of peacocks’, a parliament of owls’ and so many more.

Ruch  Muriel 5 yrs. approx

fish were in school but not me

When I was turned down for kindergarten at age five, I was devastated. As the youngest in the family, all my siblings were already in school and I cried all the way home. (My poor mother probably felt like crying too — any promise for a morning break from five children had just been shattered.) I knew about ‘a school of fish’, and didn’t quite understand why fish could be in school and I couldn’t.

Just for fun, here are some more: A richness of martens,

a fever of stingrays

A fever of stingrays

an obstinacy of buffalo, a cauldron of bats, a parade of elephants, a cackle of hyenas, a pride of lions, a troop of monkeys, a prickle of porcupines, a warren of rabbits, a crash of rhinoceroses, a scurry of squirrels, a pod of whales, a shiver of sharks, a swarm of bees, an army of caterpillars, a bed of clams or oysters, an intrusion of cockroaches (yuck!) and a cloud of grasshoppers.

Do you have some favorites of your own?