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Somewhere along the way I recently figured out that the murder of crows haunting our backyard from the dead birch tree are not actually crows at all. It turns out they are grackles, which explains why they do not make the racket cawing that the local crows do (and also why they are not as giant as the crows). It still makes for a cool and haunting vista, but it would be cooler if I could still refer to them as a murder. I poked around to see if a flock of grackles has a specific Middle English collective name, but they don't seem to have one, so I'll have to make one up. For now I'll borrow gaggle from geese. Gaggle of grackles has a certain ring.
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