Normal fear protects us; abnormal fear paralyses us. Normal fear motivates us to improve our individual and collective welfare; abnormal fear constantly poisons and distorts our inner lives. Our problem is not to be rid of fear but, rather to harness and master it.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)minister & civil-rights leader
murmuration is a term for a flock of starlings. i never knew this until the other day when a friend posted an amazing video on facebook - i can't count how many times i've watched it - it is fascinating. the on-line magazine (or would that be an ezine?) wired has an interesting piece about the video and the phenomenon that liberty smith and sophie windsor clive found themselves witnessing.
i find the names for groups of birds most curious and wonderful - most of us know a group of crows is called a murder - but did you know that a group of cranes is called a sedge? so i guess the sculpture above is of a small sedge of cranes.
if you see geese on the ground they are called a gaggle of geese; but when they are flying overhead they are a skein of geese. owls must be the most political of bird species as group of owls is called a parliament of owls. ....like i said fascinating stuff!
do you think the photo below is a sedge of cranes, a siege of herons, or a skein of geese....or something else?
james lipton's book an exaltation of larks (1993) is a delightful anthology of collective nouns for birds and other species - and a virtual goldmine for all us scrabble players and word lovers out here.
photo: top -sculpture entitled cloud chasers by o.k. harris, bottom - birds in flight. rio grande valley state park, albuquerque, new mexico, october 2011