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How many crows does it take to be a murder? A murder is the collective catchall for a group of crows; but is it four? Six? Or is it the number of crows needed to digest those meaty, messy parts so that only the bare bones are left?

While I am not sure who it was to first come up with these witty, and sometimes weird, names, I do like to use these terms when I can. One never knows when this category will appear on Jeopardy, after all. Some of my favorites: A parliament of owls; a charm of finches; a flight of swallows. These all make perfect sense. I would say that either the person who coined the term spent many hours observing these birds or the ancient language describing them evolved to a new, different but no less descriptive meaning.

Some I don’t quite comprehend. A sleeze of creepers? Brown Creepers are fun to watch as they spiral up the trunk of a tree in search of a snack (and they are also referred to as a spiral of creepers which I like much better). While they may also be on the wrong side of the trunk for me to get a good look, all of the creepers I have observed seem to have the highest moral standards.

A dissimulation of chickadees. Are you kidding? Have you ever met a deceitful chickadee? The friendly little state bird of Massachusetts and Maine is anything but! They eat right out of your hand and don’t even try to bite.

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