Monday, January 10, 2011

One Last Bird Account

I was ready to put this bird business to bed. In fact, I thought I had. At least, I thought so until someone showed me this historic account. It doesn't answer any questions. In fact, it brings up one or two. But it does add further dimensions to these accounts.


Chicago (UPI)--A powerful searchlight Sunday was blamed for the death of hundreds of birds at the Glenview Naval Air Station.

The bodies of the birds littered the jet parking ramp, posing a problem for jet planes which tend to gobble up objects in the path of their air intakes and suck them into the engines.

Bird authorities theorized the grosbeaks and redstarts were attracted by a powerful light the station uses to measure altitude of clouds.  They apparently fluttered around the light until they fell dead from exhaustion.

[printed in The Oklahoman Sept 25, 1961]

Is this normal behavior for certain bird species? To flock to a light like a fluttering* of moths?

*I made that up. I don't know what a group of moths is called, collectively. But here are some interesting collective nouns ascribed to various bird species....

A bevy of quail
A bouquet of pheasants [when flushed]
A brood of hens
A building of rooks
A cast of hawks [or falcons]
A charm of finches
A colony of penguins
A company of parrots
A congregation of plovers
A cover of coots
A covey of partridges [or grouse or ptarmigans]
A deceit of lapwings
A descent of woodpeckers
A dissimulation of birds
A dole of doves
An exaltation of larks
A fall of woodcocks
A flight of swallows [or doves, goshawks, or cormorants]
A gaggle of geese [wild or domesticated]
A host of sparrows
A kettle of hawks [riding a thermal]
A murmuration of starlings
A murder of crows
A muster of storks
A nye of pheasants [on the ground]
An ostentation of peacocks
A paddling of ducks [on the water]
A parliament of owls
A party of jays
A peep of chickens
A pitying of turtledoves
A raft of ducks
A rafter of turkeys
A siege of herons
A skein of geese [in flight]
A sord of mallards
A spring of teal
A tidings of magpies
A trip of dotterel
An unkindness of ravens
A watch of nightingales
A wedge of swans [or geese, flying in a "V"]
A wisp of snipe

1 comment:

Autumnforest said...

Damn! I love the way your mind thinks, buddy. I swear you are the dude version of me, sometimes. I think a group of moths I'd call a fluttery of moths. I like the imagery of that. The bird thing is really intriguing, but when a whole group goes, you know it must have been that they all followed each other to some bad end, like having a lousy squadron leader, sort of like that group of planes in the Bermuda Triangle in the 1940s.