A Colony of Seagulls, a Herd of Sheep, a Tower of Giraffes... A Murder of Crows?

by Logan Polish (age 14)

I've just recently discovered that groups of animals have very unique names. Most of these names are fitting, but one particular group stands out to me. A Murder of Crows? It sounds like a Hitchcock movie! I have always adored crows; I love their blackish blue feathers, and their mysterious nature. I think they're very beautiful and haunting creatures. Crows have a gothic feel and are associated with Halloween, haunted houses, and all hashtags relating to death. 

I'm sure most of their deathly reputation was earned due to their appearances in horror films. (*Note to crows: find new agent.) So I have to admit, I wasn't completely surprised when I discovered that a group of crows was called a murder. I mean why not? They’re always flying by and over characters that are meeting their maker. But the question still remains; why are they called a murder? So I decided to do some Googling to find the answer to this murder mystery. 

What I learned is that there are several different explanations for the origin of this term. Most were based around old folk tales and gruesome superstitions. Sources mentioned their association with graveyards and so on, but none ended up being very factual. So I did what any desperate bird would do. I tweeted for help. I asked the twitter verse if anyone knew where the origin of the term. Being that my flock was only fifty-three followers I knew my chances of success were small and as I had predicted, came up empty handed.

I started doing my own research on the behavior of crows hoping that would lead me to their murderous moniker. After a few days I came up with my own hypotheses about this name. Crows have demonstrated to be mindful and capable of reasoning, and they even have been known to make their own tools. So I think that it's very possible they could have gotten together and plotted the demise of a feathered friend, therefore giving them and their kind, forever the name: a murder of crows.