This one is just silly. Because we all need some silliness these days.
I’ve been watching the birds at our feeder, a favorite meditation. The feeder looks like a globe cage (to keep out the squirrels) hanging from a pole attached to a maple in our backyard. We hadn’t filled the feeder in some time, because chipmunks had figured out how to climb the pole, slip into the feeder, and steal all the food. So far, they haven’t rediscovered it, although at least one squirrel has now learned how to climb the pole, jump onto the feeder, and swing it wildly so food dumps on the ground. Clever critters.
But back to the birds. Sparrows have taken over the feeder. They travel in gangs, which reminded me of all the wonderful words for groups of animals. There are the familiar terms—a pride of lions, a school of fish—but bird flock terminology is the best.
Take, for example, a quarrel of sparrows. So appropriate, considering how much they chatter and cheap.
Here are some other favorites:
- a parliament of owls
- a peep of chickens
- a charm of hummingbirds
- an asylum of loons
- a palette of painted buntings
- a Vatican of cardinals
- and, best of all, a flamboyance of flamingos
Which got me to thinking . . . what if we had similar descriptors for professions, such as:
- a vault of bankers
- a drill of dentists
- a hose of firefighters
- a pontification of politicians
- a diagnosis of doctors
Which then led me to specialists . . .
- a pulse of cardiologists
- a rash of dermatologists
- a pod of orthopedists
- an inflammation of rheumatologists
- a stream of nephrologists
Which brings me to all of us who deal with specialists all the time. How about this?
- a persistence of patients