“A Siege of Cranes”

Ornithological nouns of assemblage:

  • a murmuration of starlings
  • a desert of lapwing
  • a parliament of owls
  • a gulp of cormorants
  • a pitying of doves
  • a murder of crows
  • an exaltation of larks
  • a charm of finches
  • a stand of flamingoes
  • a watch of nightingales
  • a rafter of turkeys
  • a committee of vultures
  • a descent of woodpeckers
  • an unkindness of ravens
  • a convocation of eagles

Who comes up with these? They’re wonderfully poetic. Also: a sleuth of bears, a shrewdness of apes, a flutter of butterflies, an intrusion of cockroaches, a bask of crocodiles, a skulk of foxes, a smack of jellyfish, a leap of leopards, a crash of rhinoceroses, a scurry of squirrels, a streak of tigers, a shiver of sharks.