A Storytelling of Ravens

I added collective nouns to the animals featured in my last post and  realise now that a lot of these names sound the way they mean, or describe how the group looks, or how they move or what they do. Had you heard that a group of crows or rooks or ravens is called “a storytelling?” Crows here, in Australia, are particularly talkative. I need to listen up!

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Words have sounds, rhythms and quirkiness in them. As a ten year old, some of my weekly homework consisted of learning lists of words, by heart,  from a cloth – bound edition  of First Aid in English by Angus Mciver, a Scots headmaster (published in 1938 and still in print). Besides learning similes. plurals and tenses, we learned collective nouns. Fridays were test days and the competition was stiff. Here’s a few reminders –

brace of deer ( two).

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  One jellyfish does not make a smack!

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Living up to their name, a paddling of ducks.

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Goats gather in trips. “Trip trap! Trip trap! Big Billy Goat Gruff?

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A bale of turtles?

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A school of dolphins – had these been porpoises this would have been a turmoil.

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Lamentations of swans.

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(6 swans a-swimming) DSCF0929

A Springtime flock with the odd black sheep.

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Is this a brood? Might it be a ‘cuddle’ of ducklings?

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Thankfully, I have only ever seen a trogle of snakes on TV. During the North American Spring, harmless Garter snakes emerge from hibernation, en masse! If you’re brave, see it here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5B5a9pWPH0

And, just in case you’ve never seen a murmuration of starlings, here’s a clip from Gretna Green in Scotland.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Q-EbX6dso

All text and photos by Meg

 Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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