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Eponymous Names Changing


Avery

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2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Frankly, I didn't expect the AOS to move this soon.

Me neither! 
 

I asked my local VT birding group what they thought a good name would be for Bicknell’s Thrush. One that was suggested (that is my favorite I’ve heard so far) was Krummholz Thrush. Had to look it up, but a perfect description for habitat! Also it’s just a sick name. 
 

krumm·holz
/ˈkro͝omhōlts/
 
noun
  1. stunted windblown trees growing near the tree line on mountains.
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  1. I don't want to buy all new field guides, in fact will not buy new ones just to have the names changed.
  2. I don't think they should be changed, just leave them as they are who cares? Hardly anybody even know who these people where(including me).
  3. This one is the best reason I have and it is purely selfish, I don't want have to relearn 70-80 species names. 
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1 hour ago, Kevin said:
  1. I don't want to buy all new field guides, in fact will not buy new ones just to have the names changed.
  2. I don't think they should be changed, just leave them as they are who cares? Hardly anybody even know who these people where(including me).
  3. This one is the best reason I have and it is purely selfish, I don't want have to relearn 70-80 species names. 

Agreed!!!

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3 hours ago, Kevin said:

Hardly anybody even know who these people where(including me).

Then look at it from a practical view.  Hopefully the chosen new names will make it easier for beginners to identify these birds in the field.  'Henslow's', 'Cooper's', etc. don't convey any information about those birds.

But I'm in IT.  Everything I work with changes every few years (or faster).  To me, change is the norm, and there's no weaker reason to continue doing something than "That's the way we've always done it!"

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1 minute ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Then look at it from a practical view.  Hopefully the chosen new names will make it easier for beginners to identify these birds in the field.  'Henslow's', 'Cooper's', etc. don't convey any information about those birds.

Oh great(said sarcastically), they've got a great track record so far. Red-bellied Woodpecker, Ring-billed Duck(ha ha just kidding, it NECKED) Then there the next category of useful ones like Black-bellied Plover, that have several other very similar species with the exact same marking. And last but not least there is ones that are reasonably good like Red-winged Blackbird, except this is only helpful on the males so the first 17 times you see a female your clueless. And then then there is the fourth category, things like Field Sparrow or Mountain Bluebird, the one I've never seen in a field, only the brushiest  woodlands, and the other I have only ever seen in the great plains, which are flatter than a pancake.

I get it, I know they are trying their best when naming this things but common on, do better or leave it alone 

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1 hour ago, Kevin said:

Oh great(said sarcastically), they've got a great track record so far. Red-bellied Woodpecker, Ring-billed Duck(ha ha just kidding, it NECKED) Then there the next category of useful ones like Black-bellied Plover, that have several other very similar species with the exact same marking. And last but not least there is ones that are reasonably good like Red-winged Blackbird, except this is only helpful on the males so the first 17 times you see a female your clueless. And then then there is the fourth category, things like Field Sparrow or Mountain Bluebird, the one I've never seen in a field, only the brushiest  woodlands, and the other I have only ever seen in the great plains, which are flatter than a pancake.

I get it, I know they are trying their best when naming this things but common on, do better or leave it alone 

I think you are somewhat missing the point of the changes. The AOS is not renaming birds purely to try and get a perfect name for the bird. They are renaming the birds to put the focus on the bird, not the person it was named after. It’s true that Anna’s Hummingbird doesn’t help a birder identify that species at all, but renaming the bird will hopefully help fix that a little bit. That being said, the main purpose was not to help people in the field when they are identifying birds.

The committee’s main rationale was as follows.  “The AOS Council fully embraces this opportunity to remove exclusionary barriers to participation in the enjoyment of birds and, through the renaming process, to educate the public about the birds themselves, their recent population declines, and their dire need for conservation.”
 

 

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From a procedural standpoint, I don’t understand why people would be upset to learn 70-80 new bird names in North America. Most birders have ready learned hundreds, if not thousands of names, so what is tens more?!

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4 hours ago, blackburnian said:

Anybody got a list of affected birds? 

I couldn’t find one. Best I could find was “approximately 70-80,” so maybe some name origins are still being researched or need to be better understood?

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6 hours ago, Birding Boy said:

How would I function without my Blackburnian Warblers and Cooper’s Hawks 🥺

hit.gif I was already upset by the change from Northern Goshawk to American Goshawk.

3 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Then look at it from a practical view.  Hopefully the chosen new names will make it easier for beginners to identify these birds in the field.  'Henslow's', 'Cooper's', etc. don't convey any information about those birds.

But I'm in IT.  Everything I work with changes every few years (or faster).  To me, change is the norm, and there's no weaker reason to continue doing something than "That's the way we've always done it!"

I hate changes like this.  Because all my lists, my photos, my artwork, even my blog posts will be incorrect and that really bothers me.  I will probably end up going through ALL my stuff and changing the names because I'm weird like that.

Edited by The Bird Nuts
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I'm hopeful there will be room for public influence during the process. A lot of these birds have potential for some super cool names, which we may as well go for if we're removing honorifics. Don't know how well 70+ more names like Thick-billed Longspur, or Short-billed Gull would go over with the birding community as a whole. 

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1 hour ago, DLecy said:

Just fine, I’m sure.

 

7 hours ago, Birding Boy said:

How would I function without my Blackburnian Warblers and Cooper’s Hawks 🥺

I could get used to calling cooper's hawks chicken hawks again, maybe 

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7 hours ago, The Bird Nuts said:

hit.gif I was already upset by the change from Northern Goshawk to American Goshawk.

I hate changes like this.  Because all my lists, my photos, my artwork, even my blog posts will be incorrect and that really bothers me.  I will probably end up going through ALL my stuff and changing the names because I'm weird like that.

One of the rare advantages to having a relatively short life list.

I use metadata tags in Windows' File Explorer; I'll probably start by looking for tags with a possessive apostrophe in them.

6 hours ago, Birding Boy said:

I could get used to calling cooper's hawks chicken hawks again, maybe 

The chickens aren't pleased.  They'd prefer those hawks continue to eat barrel makers.

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14 hours ago, blackburnian said:

Anybody got a list of affected birds? 

Quoting from https://americanornithology.org/about/english-bird-names-project/english-bird-names-committee-recommendations/#recommendation-1 (Thanks @DLecy!).  I recommend wading through it.  Even if you come away not agreeing with their reasoning, you'll learn how they plan to start implementing this (although there's no time line).

Quote

Specifically, this would include all 144 English names on the NACC list

Don't look at 144 and panic!  That number is broken down elsewhere in the report.

Quote

We suggest guidelines for prioritizing the order in which names are changed by using four tiers. 

Tier 1: Species that breed in the U.S. and/or Canada and whose distributions are primarily limited to the Americas.

Tier 2: Species that are not exclusively or primarily native to the Americas (vagrant, pelagic, introduced, and/or circumpolar species). 

Tier 3: Middle American-and-Antillean-only-species and/or SACC-only species. 

Tier 4: Species with likely or pending species-level taxonomic changes. 

Tier 1 North American species are the 70 to 80 that the AOS can change without consulting anyone else.  The other tiers require coordination with other international orni. groups.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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8 hours ago, The Bird Nuts said:

I will probably end up going through ALL my stuff and changing the names because I'm weird like that.

50 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

One of the rare advantages to having a relatively short life list.

Of my 250 North American birds, 8 will be affected (3 of them 'Wilson's').  The AOS report says western birds are far more likely to have eponyms so those with birds from that region will be affected proportionally more than others.

Quote

A disproportionate number of eponyms were coined in the American West in the mid-1800s. One member of the committee found that, of the 78 eponyms in Tier 1, 62% are from the West, primarily the Southwest; 77% of these were named between 1825 and 1875. Prior to that time and place, eponyms were relatively rare: Only 9 of the potentially 78 eponyms in Tier 1 were named before 1825. The eponyms from the American West largely honor and were conferred by “soldier scientists” traveling with the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War and various Indian wars. 

 

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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7 hours ago, Birding Boy said:

I'm hopeful there will be room for public influence during the process.

One of the committee's recommendations is that the public be involved in choosing the new names.  Maybe an on-line vote on the renaming committee's selections, or even an on-line nominating process?  :classic_smile:

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I wonder if the new descriptive names should describe adult male birds in breeding plumage, after all, field guides usually show the colorful males boldly and leave juveniles and females as footnotes, so to speak. Or, maybe the new names should make it easier to ID the trickier female type birds and those troublesome fall warblers and such? I can imagine the decision process involving a lot more complicated question than my silly ramblings, which is why I'm glad that I'm not on that committee.

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