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Mon., March 24, 2014, 4:38 p.m.

Collectively speaking, ‘herd’ of curlews begs for revision

Migrating birds of all kinds find central Washington attractive. A long-billed curlew scouts for food in a field east of Othello. (Staff photo)
Migrating birds of all kinds find central Washington attractive. A long-billed curlew scouts for food in a field east of Othello. (Staff photo)

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- Timing of the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival for this weekend once again appears well-timed for seeing a variety of bird species migrating through the Columbia River Basin.

Here's a report posted today by a language-building birder from Electric City, Roy A. Myers:

There were 37 long-billed curlews in the alfalfa field in the SE corner of the US Hwy 2/ WA Hwy 155 intersection north of Coulee City, Grant County yesterday at 11:45. That's 7 more birds and eight days earlier than the flock I saw in the same spot about this time last year.

By the way, I think something needs to be done about the collective noun for these birds. The traditional "herd" lacks flavor and style. I did find "a salon of curlew" in one New Zealand reference, which is better.

How about "a ridiculous" or "a schnoz?"

I vote for "salon."




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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