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Back to School with Bird Words | JCs Wildlife

Back to School with Bird Words | JCs Wildlife

Posted by JCS Wildlife on 8th Aug 2022

What do you call two crows sitting on a wire? Attempted murder!! Get it? Because a group of 3 crows is known as a murder of crows? No?

Okay. Bad joke. However, there are a lot of birding terms that we throw around quite a bit. And what better time to go through some of these vocab terms than back-to-school time (pause for parents of school-age children to do their happy dance)? 

If you are a seasoned birder, or just looking for a good laugh, I highly recommend The Audubon Dictionary for Birders on the National Audubon Society website. However, today we will review some fun terms for groups of birds:

Blue Jays- A group of blue jays may be referred to as a party or a band, leaving no doubt in our minds that they are the coolest of birds.

Cardinals- Groups of cardinals go by several names: college, conclave, radiance, but my personal favorite is a Vatican of cardinals!

Catbirds- A group of catbirds is known as a mewing. Kind of right on the nose, isn't it?

Chickadees- Hmmm... Maybe it is because these birds look like they are wearing little ski masks that a group of chickadees is known as a banditry.

Eagles- Refer to a group of eagles as a convocation, a soar, or a congregation to impress fellow bird nerds.

Finches- These are some gorgeous birds, so it is probably no surprise to anyone that a group of finches is a charm!

Flamingos- These birds win the prize for the most spot-on name for their group: flamboyance!

Geese- Okay, tell the truth, how fun is it to say "gaggle of geese"? Try it! That is what a group of these birds is called. I Googled a gaggle of geese for this list.

Hummingbirds- It should surprise no one that a group of Hummingbirds can be called a bouquet, a glittering (probably my favorite term), or a shimmer, among others.

Owls- A group of owls is called a parliament in Great Britain. The term became popular in the US as well, though they have more recently become known as a congress on this side of the pond. Unlike with other birds, this does not seem to depend on the species, and the terms are used for any grouping of owls.

Parrots and Parakeets- I firmly believe anyone who has kept one or more of these birds as a pet will not be surprised that a group is called a pandemonium!

Pelicans- Turns out that John Grisham was on to something with his titling. A flock of pelicans can be called a brief. Other, more common terms are squadron, pod, pouch, or scoop.  

Pigeons- Y'know what? Pigeons often get the short end of the stick. They are interesting, intelligent birds, but often get a bad wrap (maybe don't... mess... everywhere, and people won't chase you away). They also get the most boring name on the list. A group of pigeons may be known simply as a kit or a flock.

Woodpeckers- A group of woodpeckers is called a descent. Look for a descent of woodpeckers descending on your suet feeders this winter!

Wrens- When you see a group of wrens you can refer to them as either a herd or a chime.

So, now I have added to your bird knowledge and you can impress your friends and relatives with off-the-wall bird trivia. You will be the belle of any ball, the VIP of any party.... Okay, that might be overselling it....

Did your favorite bird make the list? Let us know!