"Birds and bees" = птицы и пчёлы.
Is it some kind of expression in English? Like, you know, "to catch a bus" doesn't literally mean that you are catching it with the scoop-net =)
No, specifically it is in reference to reproduction. It is not in reference to sex just for the sake of sex. It is what we call the talk given to older children about where babies come from.
I believe it would be something like "пчёлки, цветочки" or "пестики, тычинки"
the plural of feminine nouns ended in "a" should be ы but in some cases there is a spelling rule which forbids using "ы" after the letters "г, к, х, ж, ч, ш and щ". therefore, you should transform the letter "ы" into "и". maybe you saw examples of nouns in plural which had the "ы" transformed
While I can't answer whether it's irregular or not, I can point you at a pretty sweet and helpful resource: http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/morphque.cgi?flags=endnnnnp
I first received it from Theron, who is a fount of knowledge and an immense help in Russian, and it will allow you to c/p words into the search bar, opening up the declensions in a separate tab. You'll have to use the normal 'e' instead of the ё, but other than that, just c/p any word you don't know or understand in there and ram that enter button.
You're welcome. I hope someone else can answer that other question. For what it's worth, what you are referring is a general rule rather than an absolute, so it is not impossible for it to an exception. The list on this site: http://masterrussian.com/vocabulary/common_nouns_6.htm indicates it is indeed a female noun, so an exception is becoming more and more likely.
I would also recommend checking the Tips & Notes of each chapter/bubble/thingermabob itself. Doesn't hurt.
Thank you for the link, and the advice, that's going to prove very useful! I suspect it is just an irregular, one of those things that languages send to try us. Sadly the Tips & Notes, while very helpful and interesting in terms of general rules, aren't much good for specific questions. Never mind, I'll find out somehow. Thank you!
The plural ending is determined not only on the gender of the noun, but the letter at the end of the noun (vowel, soft sign, soft consonant, or hard consonant). This explains it pretty well:
Thank you: I know that, I just understood that feminine nouns ending in 'а' always had that plural ending 'И', hence the confusion. Looking again at the website I was using, it says they can have either ending, and your link clears that up: they take 'ы' except where the word ends in certain other letters, which is when they take 'И'. Thank you!
Why is ы in птицы clearly, audibly pronounced as э? Is there a rule for this or this word goes to the "memorize it" list?