An inspirational collective noun
What do ‘pulsating jellyfish’ and ‘murmurations’ have in common?
They are both descriptions for the awe-inspiring spectacle that is a huge flock of birds swirling and twisting in the air.
The ‘murmuration’ collective noun describes the perfect aerial synchrony of huge European starling flocks that gather every year in the skies of Britain and North America.
My use of the term in a recent blog touching on how little we actually know about ‘flocking’, caught the attention of Rick Simpson, chair of UK-based bird protection charity, Wader Quest.
I’ve yet to read the book but I’m assured by the authors that it will have wide appeal among ‘waderologists’ – especially those interested in some of the myths and legends surrounding waders in general; their place in art, music and literature.
Clearly never one to miss an opportunity, Rick suggested that next time I was looking for an all-embracing noun for wild birds in flight, I might consider using ‘an inspiration’.
What a neat segway. Rick and his wife Elis have just published a book titled ‘An Inspiration of Waders’, which looks at the cultural connection we have with waders and how we have been inspired by them down the centuries.
Rick says an underlying purpose of the book is also to encourage the use of ‘an inspiration’ as a suitable new collective noun for a mixed or unidentified flock of waders over an estuary.
Natural Images 2018