Tag Archive | Birds

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?


Is Love for the Birds?

Photo by Timothy Stark

Photo by Timothy Stark

Who’d a thunk it? I’m in love again. Yup, head over heels. I wait for him every evening, hoping he will call. I drop everything the moment he arrives. You see, I want to spend every moment I can with him. I’ve no idea when or even if he will show up, but I’m just so thrilled to see the guy, I don’t complain about his unannounced arrivals and erratic behaviour.
How did we meet in the first place? He dropped by while my San Francisco loved ones were visiting. What does he look like? He’s gorgeous, sleek and slender, full of energy and constantly on the go. While he’s here, I forget how much I worry about him when he doesn’t stop by for a day or so.

Am I behaving like a teenager? I guess so, but its been so long since I’ve had such a cute guy in my life — you’ll have to forgive me. So I worry. What could have happened to him? Why didn’t he make it tonight? Dangers lurk in every corner, right? Will he come back? Did he find someone else with more to offer? Is her place more interesting than mine? Yes, I worry — I do that extremely well.
Sometimes I think of Randy Bachman’s song ‘No Sugar Tonight’, which he says he thought of by

Randy Bachman who wrote 'No Sugar Tonight'

Randy Bachman who wrote ‘No Sugar Tonight’

hearing an angry wife scold her husband saying he’d get ‘no sugar tonight’. I want to threaten him accordingly, but I’m so smitten, those ideas fly away the minute I see him again. Once here, he dips his beak into my sugar water — and he’s on his way.
Since they sprayed our city for Gypsy Moths, I hadn’t seen any hummingbirds around. (Nor any butterflies.) I hope they managed to kill the darn Gypsy Moths, for goodness knows, they seem to have killed everything else. After several years of no hummingbirds, I gave up completely on the little darlings and took down my feeder.

I hadn't seen any hummingbirds for so long, I took my feeder down

I hadn’t seen any hummingbirds for so long, I took my feeder down

Well, looks like they’re back! I love them so, I stop everything when I see one at my feeder, which Rafi put back up for me while he and his crew were visiting. What happened was we all saw one at the blossoms on my balcony, and I was so excited, I immediately woke up my feeder sleeping in the closet.Now, Rafi , who is used to my nonsense, gets excited phone calls from me saying:

hummingbird feeding

hummingbird feeding

‘He’s here. He’s here!’
‘How do you know its the same one?’ He once asked.
‘I don’t know, but I hope it isn’t. I hope he’s spread the word to all the hummingbirds in the neighbourhood. I love them all.’
Well, you didn’t expect me to love only one, did you? Remember that old song: ‘Darlin’ You Can’t Love One’?

They're so beautiful -- 'Darlin' You Can't Love One'

They’re so beautiful — ‘Darlin’ You Can’t Love One’