More stupid bird names

Having established that the palm warbler and other smaller birds are poorly named, I began to wonder about the larger birds on my lake, namely, the geese and swans.  I got online and learned that a male swan is a cob, a female swan is a pen, a female goose is a hen and a male goose is a gander. 
male (cob) mute swan
male (cob) mute swan
female (pen) mute swan
female (pen) mute swan

 I don’t know about you, but I was thinking that a cob is what corn grows on, a pen is what people write with or put animals in, a hen is a female chicken, and gander means to look at. 

 Who came up with this confusing terminology?  And why, especially since the average person—and I consider myself to be one—would look at a flock of geese or swans and have no idea how to separate the females from the males?

 

Goose gander or hen?
Goose gander or hen?

And since we went to the trouble of coming up with the word geese for more than one goose, why not change the vowels in the middle of swan and come up with swin for more than one swan?  Someone came up with all these other names, so how about that family of swin? 

mute swan family, hob nobbin' with the cob
mute swan family

Regardless of what they’re called, I’m glad some swans took up residence on my lake in 2009, and that I was was able to hob-nob with a cob and be pals with a pen.

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Betsy Stevens
Betsy Stevens
12 years ago

I agree–it’s confusing terminology. Males and females work just fine.

Elene Brackley
11 years ago

I think I read somewhere that bugs are attracted to a dark spot they see within the light. Like a reverse tunnel.

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