Field Notes: a Northwest nature blog

One of the reasons many of us live in the Pacific Northwest is the natural wonders that amaze us all. On this blog Seattle Times writers and photographers will share their explorations of the natural world from snowcaps to whitecaps. Write us at with your own sightings, questions and wonders to share.

November 28, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Names for groups of animals: logical ... and sometimes poetic

Posted by Lynda V. Mapes

A murder of crows, a pride of lions, a labor of moles. The names for groups of animals can sometimes poetically evoke qualities of the group that the species in singular numbers often defy. Consider a murmuration of starlings, as captured in the photograph below.


Yes, starlings. Often maligned, always under-appreciated, the gleaming invaders -- they are exotic birds, brought here from Europe -- when they take flight in a group have a captivating beauty as they, yes, murmur through the sky.

Have look at this video of canoeists on the River Shannon in Ireland encountering a murmuration, by Sophie Windsor Clive and Liberty Smith, of Islands and Rivers:

If you can't get enough of this sort of thing, here are some more treats, from Dot Earth

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