When is a flock of birds not really a flock?
Not every group of birds is automatically called a flock. The two characteristics that constitute a flock are numbers and species.
Two or three birds are generally not thought of as a flock, but there’s no set number of birds that is needed to call it a flock. For birds that are most often seen in large groups, like starlings or ducks, a half-dozen of them in a group would not be called a flock. For less social birds, like hummingbirds or grosbeaks, just a few of them would be considered a flock since they’re rarely seen in large groups.
Any large group of birds, no matter how many different species there are, can be called a flock. There are specialized terms used for single-species flocks. Some of these terms are little strange, but fun to use:
“A murder of crows kept watch over the field, while a descent of woodpeckers kept busy pecking on all the dead trees. A charm of finches gathered on the tall grass looking for seeds along with a banditry of chickadees. A posse of turkeys roamed over the open fields and a raft of loons gathered on the lake.” Sounds better than using the word “bunch” or “flock” doesn’t it?
See the video below for examples of specialty names of single-species flocks.
By Guest Contributor MELISSA BLOCK