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A Murmuration

A flock of starlings is called a murmuration, and a beautiful video of a murmuration of starlings flying about has been described by Martha as “nature’s ornithological lava lamp.” This is part of a complete episode.

Albatross Around Your Neck

What does it mean to have an albatross around your neck? A political pundit, referring to a current candidate, mentioned “an alcatraz around his neck.” The proper version, with an albatross, originates from Samuel Taylor...

Like a Duck on a June Bug

Why are the names of cars so unimaginative? Grant argues that auto manufacturers might take inspiration from ornithology to build a better car name. (Then again, would you be any less aggravated if you were rear-ended by a lazuli bunting?) Also this...

Hoopoe Heads (minicast)

Martha talks about the hoopoe, that colorful, clownish, extremely smelly bird—with a likely linguistic connection to defrauded hedge fund investors.

Wet Birds Don’t Fly at Night

A Wisconsin listener remembers a boss who used to use an odd expression whenever he wanted to change the subject of a discussion. The boss would say, “Well, wet birds don’t fly at night,” then switch to another subject. Grant...

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