• Cindy Zampa

PORTAL 52 Week 37: Conspiracy in Parliament

A flock of birds can be described in a number of different, sometimes interesting ways. For instance, the main subjects in this painting belong to a large family of birds called Corvids, including magpies, crows, ravens, jays, and nutcrackers, among others.

Groups of birds are also given different names depending on the type of bird in question. Ravens are often associated with mischief, mystery and magic, so a group of these pure black birds is called a ‘conspiracy’. On the other hand, the black and white colouring of magpies give them a stately appearance, as though they are attired in fine suits. Since they communicate with each other in groups by cawing loudly at each other, similar to the way formally dressed members of parliament behave at times, groups of this type of bird are otherwise known as a ‘parliament’ of magpies.

Many corvids gather in parliaments and conspiracies around our house. Oftentimes we are awakened by the chorus of noise, as parliament is called into session even before the sun rises. It is particularly noticeable during the spring and summer months, as they build their nests and raise their families. Many people consider them to be a nuisance, but I quite enjoy hearing their rousing sessions since it means warmer weather is here. They are portals to the transitioning seasons.

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