What’s in a Name?

3-12-2019 aI like American Crows and am lucky enough to see them all the time. Why just today, I saw a crow perched on a lamppost outside the market and then I saw two crows in an oak tree I passed on my way to NuNu’s house.

Did you know that crows are very smart? They are thought to be some of the smartest birds in the world. I like the way crows say “Caw! Caw! Caw!” and I like how big they are. Crows are much easier to spot than a teeny bird like a house finch.

When I see a crow, I stop to admire it. Before this past weekend I had never seen a large group of crows, even though I know they often gather in sizeable flocks. So when Hector and I came upon a murder of crows, I was very excited.

“Hector! Look at all these crows! I think this qualifies as a murder, don’t you?” I asked my best friend when we saw what seemed like 500 crows gathered in neighboring trees.

“Um. What?” Hector gasped. “A murder? Where? How?” He looked quite spooked all of a sudden.

“A group of crows is called a murder of crows, silly. No one has been killed,” I replied. “It’s a special name like a pride of lions, a conspiracy of lemurs, a bevy of swans, a swarm of bees, or a prickle of porcupines. It’s pretty old-fashioned to use those words but I like to. I think they’re both wacky and charming.”

“Nothing called a murder is charming, Bernice!  I want to go home now,” Hector shivered with the creeps.

“Okay, Hector,” I said. “Let’s go home and have some tea.”

We headed back the way we had come, and soon I could not see the crows any longer. But I could hear their caw-caw-cawing for quite a long time and I found the sounds delightful.   3-12-2019 b

4 responses to “What’s in a Name?”

  1. Hi, Bernice. Your note about the murder of crows reminds me of a time when your mother and I were down by the National Mall in the summer and there was an outdoor showing of “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock. There were a lot of black birds that swarmed together, made the daylight disappear and swarmed the star of the movie — very frightening. Wonder if those were crows. If so, they were truly a “murder” of crows in both the way that you and Hector were discussing! By the way, you didn’t mention that when there are a lot of giraffes together, we are called a tower of giraffes. Probably because of our long necks. With spring upon us, you won’t need the turtlenecks much longer. Hope you and Hector enjoyed the tea.


    • I haven’t seen that Hitchcock movie, Dad! I don’t think it’s for me.

      I didn’t think to mention we giraffes are called a tower of giraffes when we gather in groups. Thank you for addressing the oversight 🙂

      Thanks for the comment! You are my chattiest follower – I so appreciate the feedback!

      I love you, Dad.


  2. Hi, Bernice. Mom and I are just enjoying a nice cup of green tea and thinking of our upcoming feast of acacia leaves – yum! Anyway, your mother is such a riot. We were talking about your post and the murder of crows and Mom said, “it’s so interesting all the names some groups of birds have.” I didn’t know what she meant so I asked if there was anything special about crows since that is what you wrote about. She said, “Absolutely. Crows in groups are not only called a murder of crows as Bernice correctly noted but also are known as congress of crows, a horde of crows, a muster of crows or a cauldron of crows.” Your Mom is so smart!
    Then we got talking about NuNu’s dog Ava and her attraction to squirrels and rabbits. It turns out squirrels in groups are called a dray of squirrels or a scurry of squirrels and groups of rabbits are a herd. I bet Ava would enjoy seeing drays of squirrels or herds of rabbits. I understand that she goes crazy when she sees just one on her walks!.
    Then got to thinking about some of our animal friends from the Savannah and thought of a parade of elephants, a pride of lions, an ambush or a streak of tigers, a crash of rhinoceroses, a band of gorillas, a bloat of hippopotami, a cackle of hyenas, a shadow of jaguars along with our tower of giraffes.
    Just thinking about all of our friends back home, makes me happy.
    Have a great evening.


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