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Appendix 14.6 Words designating a flock of birds - Noms désignant une compagnie d'oiseaux 14.6.1. English

Most of the following expressions have appeared anonymously in Word-lore, 1926-28, Vol. 3, No. 2: 54, 60, and No. 5: 132. Others have been added by James Lipton in AnExaltationofLarks, New York, 1968, and by Hal Borland in the AudubonMagazine, Vol. 71, No. 1: 46-47, 1962; a half dozen more were found in Wright's EnglishDialectDictionary and a few in Jackson, 1968. In these articles most of those expressions appear to have been taken to be society names. It is not always so, however, as can be seen hereafter. Fancier, faulty spellings or misprints are in quotes. By alphabetical order:

Engl.bale of turtles(a sorrow) ð5.22. of swans"bend", "bank"
Engl.bevy of quails(a bevy is also a group of persons, of animals; cf. o.Fr. bevée "flock of birds") ð4.5.11.
Engl.body of coots(a large quantity) ð4.5.18.
Engl.bouquet of pheasants(a pheasant dish is presented as a "bouquet" on a table - or rather with a bouquet)
Engl.braceof swans, of partridges (a pair)
Engl.broodof chickens or any other birds
Engl.building of rooks 
Engl.bunchof wigeons, of teals
Engl.cast of hawksa couple or a small group of trained falcons (not meant as "a throwing" but see ð4.3.9.1.)
Engl.charm of goldfinches(to charm,chorm,cherm or chirm is "to chirp, sing, warble, croon, hum, to chatter noisily; charm is "a confused intermingled song or hum of birds, a blended singing of birds, children etc." See Wright sub chirm, and ð5.2.8.
Engl.chevron of geese(shape of the flock)
Engl.clamour of rooks(acoust.)
Engl.clan of crows 
Engl.clattering of choughs(acoust.)
Engl.cleehy of gulls(imit.)
Engl.clucking of hens("clacking")
Engl.clutchof ducks, of chickens or any other birds ("clatch")
Engl.colonya gathering on nesting grounds
Engl.column of ducks 
Engl.companyof wigeons, of ducks, of partridges
Engl.congregationof starlings. of plovers
Engl.covent of cooks("covert") a great quantity; Franç. covent "assembly" ð4.4.3.
Engl.coveyof grouse, partridges (a family party), Fr. couvée "clutch"
Engl.deceit of lapwings("desert") beguiling ?
Engl.descent of woodpeckers(woodpeckers are solitary and usually climb trees upwards; therefore the name should be read descant (the Green Wodpecker is a noisy bird)
Engl.dissimulation of birds(literary)
Engl.dole of dove ("dule")a lamentation ð5.27.
Engl.doge of swallows(dial. to doge = to move to and fro", Engl. to dodge) ("doyes" is a misreading)
Engl.dread of terns"the unaccountable corporate flight of nesting colonies" Braidwood, p. 102, see ð6.3.2.
Engl.n.Engl.drift of birdsa drove, a flock
Engl.dopping of ducks(from Dutch doper "dipper" dopen "to dip"; or perhaps dropping is correct and means "the action of dropping to the water", see plumb)
Engl.earie of eagle(a nest) ð12.1.
Engl.eyrer of swan("eyrar") a nest ð12.1.
Engl.exaltation of lark(poetic from its "exalted" singing)
Engl.fall of woodcock(the act of falling after being shot)
Engl.fleet of ducklings 
Engl.flightof swallows or any other birds
Engl.fling of dunlings(of sandpipers, of birds) (to fling is "to fly in violent and irregular motion" ð6.2.12.)
Engl.flock(of geese, curlews or any other birds or animals) ("flaag") ð6.2.11.
Engl.flush(of ducks, mallards or any other birds) ð6.2.13.
Engl.gaggle of geese(their gaggling)
Engl.: Teviotdalegale (or gail) of geesefrom Gael.S. gal "wailing, loud noise" ð5.10. of swans(not related to "play" but to game "lame" because of their awkward gait on land)
Engl.gatheringof starlings, or other birds
Engl.gulp of cormorant(from its gluttony)
Engl.herdof swans, curlews or other animals
Engl.hill of ruffs(their place of display) of sparrow(host = multitude, great number)
Engl.hover of crows 
Engl.knob of pochards("knot") a small company on the water ð4.1.18.3.
Engl.lag of geese(a clamour, cf. gale, above and ð5.12.3.)
Engl.leash of wildfowl"group of three" (?), meaning obscure
Engl.murmuration of starlings(literary)
Engl.murder of crows(poetic)
Engl.muster of peacock(here meant as a display)
Engl.nye of pheasants(literature 15th century) "nide" "rede" (for nede) "a nye", "an eye"! (nothing but a nest of pheasants, Fr. nid); should be pronounced "nee" like Fr. nid
Engl.ostentation of peacock(literary)
Engl.pack("park") of grouse, of partridges a large party
Engl.paddling of ducks("puddling", "badeling", "badelynge")
Engl.parcel of oystercatchers(a pack)
Engl.parliament of owl(meant as a parley, because of the chattering of the Barn Owl)
Engl.pitying of dove(poetic, from its doleful cooing) of gulls("their circling or dipping over a dense mass of fry" Braidwood, p. 102)
Engl.plumpof ducks, of wildfowl (a plumb ð10.6.)
Engl.raftof ducks, of teals; a rafter of turkeys (raft is a large and mottley collection of...)
Engl.rush of pochardsa flock, cf. Rh.Romansh rotscha d'utschels "flock of birds", Franç. reg. érusée "flight of birds" and Franç. ruée "rush"
Engl.roostof starlings or other birds (their roosting place)
Engl.rout of birdsmob, rabble of ducksa pair
Engl.sail of ducks, of larks("said") a flight
Engl.scurry("scry") of autumn birds, of domestic fowl (a hurried flight) of waterfowl(prob. a group of six)
Engl.siege of heron, of bittern("seige", "sege", "sedge") from the way it doggedly wait for its prey
Engl.skeinof geese, of ducks (from the shape of their flight formations)
Engl.soar of ducks("sore", "sord", "lord"!) from soar, Franç. essor "flight" and not from Franç. sourdre)
Engl.soma of swans(a learned equivalent of body (above), from gr. somos)
Engl.stand of plovers(a flock of plovers, not "a motionless group"; this term is not the Engl. to stand, but the Gael.stuaidh,stein,stadhan "flock of birds")
Engl.: York.stower of geesea formation, a pack
Engl.string of ducks, of geese("spring") from the shape of their flight formations
Engl.suite of mallards("sute") a series, from the shape of their flight formations of ducks, of swans(a brood or pair with young)
Engl.tidings of magpies(tidings = news, informations from the garrulous reputation of the bird)
Engl.tok of capercaillie(imit. of its peculiar note)
Engl.tripof wigeons, of waders (a group moving together; the word is a dial. variant of troop)
Engl.troopof geese or other birds
Engl.unkindness of ravens(purely poetic)
Engl.volery of thrushes(Franç. volée)
Engl.wache of birdsa walk of snipe ð6.2.25. of nightingale(a vigil, see the Romanian names, No. 337)
Engl.wing of ploversð6.2.25.
Engl.wisp("whisp") of "snipe" (= sandpipers) wisp is "a small bunch"

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