ornithology (ornəˈthäləjē)

The bird feeder is unusually quiet. We often see chirping birds during the day.

Ever since my dad placed a bird feeder outside of our dining room window, we have seen many different songbirds.  Every evening during dinner, we are entertained by cardinals, Carolina chickadees, titmouses, house finches, bluejays, and several kinds of sparrows. My favorite birds to watch are cardinals because they are so colorful. Ornithology is the study of birds.  It comes from the Greek roots, ornitho- meaning bird and –logy meaning study of. Do any of you have a bird feeder? If you do, what is your favorite bird to watch?


  1. Dear Word Explorer,

    Your post made me wonder whether the plural of “titmouse” was “titmice” or “titmouses.” An internet search turned up this from the Bird Watcher’s General Store website:

    . . .the name “titmouse” comes from the Old Icelandic word titr, meaning “small” and the Anglo-Saxon mase, meaning “small bird.” Somewhere along the way, titr mase became titmouse. I know it’s a bit confusing, but the important thing to keep in mind is that the mouse part of titmouse has nothing to do with rodents . . . Thus, if I’ve interpreted the book [100 Birds and How They Got Their Names] correctly, using titmice for the plural of titmouse is not proper. It should be titmouses, much the same way the plural of houses isn’t, as it turns out, “hice.” But, saying titmice isn’t totally wrong either.

    She goes on to observe that if “titmice” is what people generally say, then we can regard it as correct.

    Which do you prefer?

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