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murmuration

birds flying in formation

TRANSLATION

murmuration = Formationsflug (besonders von Staren)

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“These huge MURMURATIONS will contain some of our breeding birds, but the vast majority will be birds from Russia and eastern Europe escaping the cold.”

Robyn Vinter - The Guardian

Did you
know?

murmuration
noun

- a large group of birds, usually starlings, that all fly together and change direction together, or the act of birds doing this

- the act of murmuring : the utterance of low continuous sounds or complaining noises

Cambridge Dictionary / Merriam-Webster


ORIGIN

Murmuration first appeared in the late 14th century; from Medieval Latin murmuratio meaning “murmuring, grumbling”.

The “starling” sense is probably derived from the sound of the very large groups that starlings form at dusk.


THE COST OF A SUPERSWARM

The largest starling murmuration so far recorded was a spectacular, super swarm of 10 million starlings above the city of Rome.

These aerial displays are however, not without their cost. Autumn tourists in Rome are often confused to see people walking near the river Tiber with umbrellas up on a sunny day—confused, that is, until they find their clothes speckled with bird droppings.

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ANIMAL COLLECTIVES

You probably know the collective nouns “a flock of sheep” or “a herd of cows”, but the English language has many other ways of describing living-creature groups. How many of these do you recognize?

- an army of ants
- a colony of bats
- a drove of donkeys
- a gaggle of geese
- a gang of turkeys
- a pack of hounds
- a parliament of owls
- a pride of lions
- a school of fish
- a swarm of bees
- a train of camels
- a troop of monkeys


SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“To see an amazing MURMURATION of 10 million starlings check out 'Ten Million Starlings' on YouTube.”


THANKS to Jacky for suggesting today’s word.


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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