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A flock is a group of birds conducting flocking behavior in flight, or while foraging. The term is akin to the herd amongst mammals. The benefits of aggregating in flocks are varied and flocks will form explicitly for specific purposes. Flocking also has costs, particularly to socially subordinate birds, which are bullied by more dominant birds; birds may also sacrifice feeding efficiency in a flock in order to gain other benefits. The principal benefits are safety in numbers and increased foraging efficiency. Defense against predators is particularly important in closed habitats such as forests where predation is often by ambush and early warning provided by multiple eyes is important, this has led to the development of many mixed-species feeding flocks. These multi-species flocks are usually composed of small numbers of many species, increasing the benefits of numbers but also increasing potential competition for resources.
Group size is a major aspect of the social environment of gregarious animals. However, one has to be careful when using group size measures to characterize animal sociality, because average individuals live in groups larger than mean group size.
This article refers to the general phenomenon of crowds. For the psychological and sociological term referring to adolescent peer groups, see Crowds (adolescence).
A crowd is a large and definable group of people, while "the crowd" is referred to as the so-called lower orders of people in general (the mob). A crowd may be definable through a common purpose or set of emotions, such as at a political rally, at a sports event, or during looting (this is known as a psychological crowd), or simply be made up of many people going about their business in a busy area (e.g. shopping). Everybody in the context of general public or the common people is normally referred to as the masses.
The term crowd is often defined in contrast to other group nouns for collections of humans or animals: aggregation, audience, group, mass, mob, populous, public, rabble and throng. For example in "Public Opinion" Vincent Price compares masses and crowds:
Crowds are defined by their shared emotional experiences, but masses are defined by their interpersonal isolation.
In human sociology, the term "mobbed" simply means "extremely crowded", as in a busy mall or shop. In animal behaviour mobbing is a technique
A Herd refers to a social grouping of certain animals of the same species, either wild or domestic, and also to the form of collective animal behavior associated with this (referred to as herding) or as a verb, to herd, to its control by another species such as humans or dogs.
The term herd is generally applied to mammals, and most particularly to the grazing ungulates that classically display this behaviour. Different terms are used for similar groupings in other species; in the case of birds, for example, the word is flocking, but flock may also be used, in certain instances, for mammals, particularly sheep or goats. A group of quail is often referred to as a covey. Large groups of carnivores are usually called packs, and in nature a herd is classically subject to predation from pack hunters.
Special collective nouns may be used for particular taxa (for example a flock of geese, if not in flight, is sometimes called a gaggle) but for theoretical discussions of behavioural ecology, the generic term herd can be used for all such kinds of assemblage.
The word herd, as a noun, can also refer to one who controls, possesses and has care for such groups of animals when they are
A gaggle is a term of venery for a flock of geese that isn't in flight; in flight, the group can be called a skein.
In terms of geese, a gaggle is equal to at least five geese.
In terms of salt, a gaggle is equal to eight fifty pound bags of salt. Usually one layer on a skid.
In military slang, a gaggle is an unorganized group doing nothing. In aviation, it is a large, loosely organized tactical formation of aircraft.
In the field of systems biology, The Gaggle is an open source software framework for exchanging data between independently developed software tools and databases to enable interactive exploration of data.
A "press gaggle" (as distinct from a press conference or press briefing) is the nickname given to an informal briefing by the White House Press Secretary which (as used by press secretaries for the George W. Bush administration) is on the record, but disallows videography. The term can also be used to refer to the informal interactions between the press and the press secretary that occur before a videotaped press briefing.
One former member of the White House Press Corps provided the following historical context:
The nickname is thought to stem from the idea that