Charms, murders and parliaments

I enjoy collective nouns. They can be graphic and obscure, and some of them conjure up malign situations, such as a murder of crows, describing a group of these birds, perhaps huddled together, all dressed in black and up to no good.


A charm of goldfinches is another matter altogether. These colourful, attractive birds can’t help but be anything but charming to look at and fascinating to watch.

A parliament of owls sounds solemn and proper, with connotations of the wisdom associated with this bird. If only MPs, when they get elected and enter parliament, could retain some of these qualities.

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