Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2215 Clan Clowder

The other day I was looking in the air and what should fly by but a gaggle of geese. Naturally my mind started to flit around too. Why do some birds have their own group designation? Birds generally are referred to as flocks. But then you have a gaggle of geese or a murder of crows.

Cranes are even more privileged, groups of them can be called by a number names, like siege or sedge or even herd. Yep, it's perfectly appropriate to say a herd of cranes.

Ducks come in skeins or rafts depending on whether they're in the air or water. Doves come in cotes or bevies. Eagles, if you ever see them together, are called by the impressive sounding name "convocation." Though a convocation of eagles sounds like some kind of car club.

Other animals are equally interesting. You've probably asked yourself, "What do they call a herd of crocodiles?" Why a “congregation” of course. A congregation of giant lizards. Sounds like devil worshipers. Or maybe officers of the Ku Klux Klan. 

BTW, a group of hyenas is also known as a clan.

My favorite weird animal grouping name is for cats. Though the process of herding cats is a great metaphor for difficulty, the word for a herd of cats is actually just weird. It's "clowder." As in, a clowder of cats was on the prowl. Sounds a little like cloudy chowder and not at all catlike.  

The word for a clowder of kittens is even stranger. A herd of non-littered kittens is known as a "kindle." Hmm. Why would savvy Amazon name their reading device after a flock of felines? 

I'm guessing that knowing how cute kittens were, Jeff Bezos wanted to imply Kindles would be adopted by all the hep cats.

America, ya gotta love it. 

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