A “Murmuration” of Starlings

Posted by Missouri Rev on Nov 2nd, 2005

I recently saw a murmuration of starlings fly over, that is right, a murmuration.  Try having your spell checker recognize that one.  As I am always trying to improve my writing skills, I ran across several names for groups of animals that are most interesting.  The English language is rich or, might I add, was rich in such amazing descriptions of God’s creatures, as it is in so many things, but over time they have largely disappeared through ignorance and lack of use.  Much of this can be blamed on the fine job the state does in lobotomizing its students in the public school system.  Being myself a product of the public school system, for which it has taken me years by God’s grace to rectify through steady self education, I had no clue there were such magnificent names until now.  This could get really fun!!  

Most of us are aware of the typical names such as a colony of ants, flock of birds, pride of lions, herd of cattle, covey of quail, flock of sheep, pod of whales, swarm of bees, gaggle of geese, and now the murmuration of starlings.  But were you aware of a shrewdness of apes, pace of asses, cete of badgers, sloth of bears, gang of buffalos, covert of coots, plump of ducks, gang of elk, charm of finches, skulk of foxes, knot of frogs, drift of hogs, kindle of kittens, exaltation of larks, sord of mallards, pod of meadowlarks, watch of nightingales, muster of peacocks, nide of pheasants, bevy of quail, trip of seals, wisp of snipe, host of sparrows, spring of teal, skulk of vermin, gam of whales, clowder of wildcats, skein of wild fowl, sounder of wild hogs, or fall of woodcocks?  Nearly half of these words show up as miss spelled by my trusty spell checker.  Now that you agrarians have had your animal kingdom vocabulary increased, think of the fun you can have in rightly describing the various critters you might steward or see, let alone the various people types we all know?  In keeping with the biblical tradition of using animals to describe certain groups of depraved people like the infamous brood of vipers, what, for instance, could we call the corrupt politicians of our area?  How about a skulk of vermin!  What about the profane talking heads of modern media?  How about a pace of asses!  What about the lawless generational welfare types that are always rooting for more handouts?  How about a sounder of wild hogs?  You get the idea.  Have fun!  — The Missouri Rev                  

4 Responses

  1. larswife Says:

    Reverend: This was an absolute delight to read – and read aloud to the family! Thank you for opening young (and old) eyes even further.

  2. bob Says:

    Thanks for sharing! I printed it off for my wife to share with the kids in the morning.

    Another humorous one to add is a bloat of hippos. Kind of reminds me of the local crowd at the local all you can eat buffet shack!


  3. Scott Terry Says:

    Thanks for a wonderfull post. They were almost all new to me, but rest assured I will teach these to my children.

  4. Straw Conservative Says:

    A very good post. I graduated from high school (public school) in 2002. I had never heard of these names either. Of course in public school we were forced to learn multiculturalism and secular humanism to name a Anti Christ few. That reflects why my generation’s moral values are non existent. Nice to learn something new today. Keep it up brother.

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