A charm of goldfinches

We discovered recently, to our delight, that the collective noun for goldfinches is  a charm. How charming is that?

A little research revealed that the family of magpies that hang out in Lambrok Meadow are officially a mischief, though they behave like the Mafia; the collar doves in the woods are a bevy, and owls that visit in the spring are a parliament. We all know that geese gaggle but who knew that ravens gather in conspiracies?

Many of these nouns were first recorded in the 15th Century and have remained pretty much unchanged ever since. They usually reflect some aspect of the birds appearance or behaviour: a scold of jays, a blush of robins or a clamour of rooks.

Some seem particularly apt: a confusion of chiffchaffs is just right and a group of lapwings, a bird that pretends to be injured to lure predators away from its nest, is called a deceit.

2 thoughts on “A charm of goldfinches

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: