Animal groups and other outdoor stuff

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Dennis Clay

One aspect of writing a story or column is the use of words to describe a group of birds or animals. This aspect of writing is fun and energizing for the writer. Responses from readers indicate they also enjoy learning the different words for various wildlife species.

Today we are going to identify some of the words used to identify birds and animals. Plus, there are several words to describe some groups of the same species. Many of these will be familiar to some readers, but others will be new and refreshing.

Crows: A group of crows is called a murder, such as a murder of crows. Other words used to describe crows are a horde, hover, parcel and muster. However, it is understood the scientific community considers any group of birds to be a flock. Still, using other words, even if they are not officially scientific, will work for me.

The American lion: There are many names for the American lion, including Mountain lion, cougar, panther, puma and catamount. Cougars are known to be solitary animals, but a few years ago there was a trail camera photo of eight cougars in one spot in Moses Coulee.

The local biologist was contacted to confirm the number. He told me it was a valid photo. Sometimes a mother will allow her daughter to stay in the same territory.

The biologist told me the six cubs were malnourished and perhaps only one or two would survive.

Swan: The male swan is a cob. A female swan is a pen. The baby swan is a cygnet. Remember the story of the “Ugly Duckling?” The ugly baby bird was a cygnet, who grew into a beautiful swan.

Elk and moose: A male moose/elk is a bull. A female moose/elk is a cow. A young moose/elk is a calf.

Turkey: An adult male turkey is a Tom. A female is a hen. A young male turkey is a jake. A baby turkey, just out of the shell, is called a pullet, which is a turkey up to four weeks old.

The turkey introduction into Washington State is a great success story. The limit on turkey allows four turks to be taken during the fall season and a total of seven turkeys for the year.

Deer/elk/moose: A male elk is a bull, so is a male moose. A female moose is a cow and so is a female elk. A male deer is a buck and a female is a doe. A fawn is a young deer.

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