We often heard that it was up to mom or dad to tell us about the birds and the bees, yet many kids walked around with big question marks over their heads, trying to figure how the subject was related to the topic.
Actually, there is very little we know about the birds and the bees. What we do know is—when all the bees get together and go in the same direction, they are called a swarm of bees. Then you wouldn’t say that about birds. Never heard of a swarm of birds.
It would take forever for someone to tell you all about the birds because their groups are called by so many names. When you see birds flying together you have several choices—you can say a flock, flight, congregation, or volery of birds. We generally call them a flock of birds.
Hmmm… why not a congregation of birds. That’s a good one. You might expect that whoever or whatever congregates would be referred to as a congregation—like when church members come to the morning worship service. When you refer to other groups, like turtledoves, you have a pitying of turtledoves. Then there’s a flight of swallows, a mustering of storks, or a bevy, herd, lamentation, or wedge of swans.
If you aren’t thoroughly bewildered by now, take a look at the list below and see how close you come to putting them together.
A. Sheep 1. Colony
B. Seals 2. Nest
C. Trout 3. Leash
D. Woodpeckers 4. Bale
E. Sparrows 5. Cast or kettle
F. Toads 6. Host or knot
G. Hawks 7. Descent
H. Turtles 8. Hover
I. Rabbits 9. Herd or pod
J. Beavers 10.Drove or flock
Cardinals ordinarily flock together, like they did in my Aunt Katherine’s back yard in Virginia one summer day. Those red birds were a beautiful sight to be-hold. Aunt Katherine’s friend Jane was so impressed with them that on the way back to Tennessee, she purchased a bird- house and birdseed and was prepared to enjoy the same wonderful sight in her back yard. She set up the birdhouse and watched day after day, but no birds came. When she be-came quite ill and was bedridden, a neighbor visited and told Jane of hummingbirds that gathered all the time in her yard. Then Jane shared her story and the neighbor hastened to set up a bird house outside Jane’s window. The hummingbirds came and she experienced the joy of watching them for the rest of her life.
The list is easily matched by reversing the A through J.
Now you can say you know a little more about the birds and the bees—and about other things that come in droves. Did you ever hear of a string of ponies? And the list goes on…
Kitty Maiden is a staff writer for Seniors Today.