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Eponymous Names Changing


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2 hours ago, RobinHood said:

This NYT article is a little more pointed about some of the logic behind the proposed changes..

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/01/science/birds-ornithology-names-audubon.html?searchResultPosition=1

Some of the links are pretty tenuous and I'm struggling to see how this will have a positive impact on bird populations.

It won't...it's marketing.  

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53 minutes ago, lonestranger said:

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.

I think this is a really god point, and a fascinating idea. I like it. Why not draw attention to the subtle beauty of female birds? It would be helpful for birders too, from an ID perspective.

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I had endeavored to start a lengthy response against changing the names, but as I didn't get it finished last night and the topic has so changed from the discussion at that time, I see no point in bringing it back up. I'm probably not going to change anyone's mind, nor they mine.

I dislike descriptive names, as a new birder they were terribly confusing. The easiest bird I learned was the Osprey. Simple, short and easy to remember, things like Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was a nightmare. Also some of the descriptive names are so m/f or age/molt dependent that as a new birder you just expect that feature to be there and dismiss species based solely off that.  

Also as to changing the names, it will cause havoc among the new/only partly interested birders. Of course that will be gone within a few years. When I started birding scrub-jays had just been split, my guides and most resources on line were out of date or had absolutely no explanation of what had happened, it was at least three years into birding before I understood. Of course that is short lived. 

If they are going to be renamed they should be named with short names, no dashes, no complicated capitalization, and no more than two words.  

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I filtered the current ABA list of birds based on apostrophes, and these 117 are those that came up:

Quote

Ross's Goose
Steller's Eider
Stejneger's Scoter
Barrow's Goldeneye
Gambel's Quail
Erckel's Spurfowl
Clark's Grebe
Chuck-will's-widow
Vaux's Swift
Rivoli's Hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird
Costa's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Xantus's Hummingbird
Ridgway's Rail
Wilson's Plover
Temminck's Stint
Baird's Sandpiper
Wilson's Snipe
Wilson's Phalarope
Kittlitz's Murrelet
Scripps's Murrelet
Craveri's Murrelet
Cassin's Auklet
Sabine's Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
Ross's Gull
Franklin's Gull
Pallas's Gull
Belcher's Gull
Heermann's Gull
Forster's Tern
Salvin's Albatross
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel
Leach's Storm-Petrel
Townsend's Storm-Petrel
Tristram's Storm-Petrel
Murphy's Petrel
Fea's Petrel
Zino's Petrel
Cook's Petrel
Stejneger's Petrel
Bulwer's Petrel
Jouanin's Petrel
Parkinson's Petrel
Cory's Shearwater
Buller's Shearwater
Newell's Shearwater
Bryan's Shearwater
Audubon's Shearwater
Brandt's Cormorant
Cooper's Hawk
Steller's Sea-Eagle
Harris's Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Lewis's Woodpecker
Williamson's Sapsucker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Nutting's Flycatcher
La Sagra's Flycatcher
Couch's Kingbird
Cassin's Kingbird
Hammond's Flycatcher
Say's Phoebe
Bell's Vireo
Hutton's Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Steller's Jay
Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay
Clark's Nutcracker
Blyth's Reed Warbler
Middendorff's Grasshopper Warbler
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler
Pallas's Leaf Warbler
Bishop's Oo
Bewick's Wren
Bendire's Thrasher
LeConte's Thrasher
Townsend's Solitaire
Bicknell's Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Naumann's Thrush
Sprague's Pipit
Pallas's Rosefinch
Cassin's Finch
Lawrence's Goldfinch
Smith's Longspur
McKay's Bunting
Pallas's Bunting
Botteri's Sparrow
Cassin's Sparrow
Bachman's Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
Worthen's Sparrow
Harris's Sparrow
Bell's Sparrow
LeConte's Sparrow
Nelson's Sparrow
Baird's Sparrow
Henslow's Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Abert's Towhee
Bullock's Oriole
Audubon's Oriole
Scott's Oriole
Brewer's Blackbird
Bachman's Warbler
Swainson's Warbler
Lucy's Warbler
Virginia's Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler
Kirtland's Warbler
Grace's Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Morelet's Seedeater

To get the list close to 80 birds, I have to remove all birds that aren't Code 1 or 2, which reduces the list to 82:

Quote

Ross's Goose
Steller's Eider
Barrow's Goldeneye
Gambel's Quail
Erckel's Spurfowl
Clark's Grebe
Chuck-will's-widow
Vaux's Swift
Rivoli's Hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird
Costa's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Ridgway's Rail
Wilson's Plover
Baird's Sandpiper
Wilson's Snipe
Wilson's Phalarope
Kittlitz's Murrelet
Scripps's Murrelet
Cassin's Auklet
Sabine's Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
Franklin's Gull
Heermann's Gull
Forster's Tern
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Leach's Storm-Petrel
Cory's Shearwater
Buller's Shearwater
Newell's Shearwater
Audubon's Shearwater
Brandt's Cormorant
Cooper's Hawk
Harris's Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Lewis's Woodpecker
Williamson's Sapsucker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Couch's Kingbird
Cassin's Kingbird
Hammond's Flycatcher
Say's Phoebe
Bell's Vireo
Hutton's Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Steller's Jay
Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay
Clark's Nutcracker
Bewick's Wren
Bendire's Thrasher
LeConte's Thrasher
Townsend's Solitaire
Bicknell's Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Sprague's Pipit
Cassin's Finch
Lawrence's Goldfinch
Smith's Longspur
Botteri's Sparrow
Cassin's Sparrow
Bachman's Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
Harris's Sparrow
Bell's Sparrow
LeConte's Sparrow
Nelson's Sparrow
Baird's Sparrow
Henslow's Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Abert's Towhee
Bullock's Oriole
Audubon's Oriole
Scott's Oriole
Brewer's Blackbird
Swainson's Warbler
Lucy's Warbler
Virginia's Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler
Kirtland's Warbler
Grace's Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler

This still ignores a handful of birds like Blackburnian Warbler, although you can remove the Chuck-will's-widow.

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54 minutes ago, SageGrouse said:

I went to an article on earthsky.org.

https://earthsky.org/earth/bird-names-2023-american-ornithological-society/

The responses were enough to remind me what a great forum Whatbird is.  Members here are able to disagree without feeling it necessary to insult people.  I doubt I'll be going back.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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On 11/1/2023 at 10:16 PM, Birding Boy said:

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. 

As long as we get Yarmulked Warbler, I'm fine with it.

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11 minutes ago, neilpa said:

Screw it, let’s just all switch to the Latin/scientific names 😭. Semi-seriously though, at least those are more stable and effectively universal.

Ancient Rome was anywhere from 10-30% slaves.  Ancient Greece was between 15-25% slaves.  

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10 hours ago, chipperatl said:

Ancient Rome was anywhere from 10-30% slaves.  Ancient Greece was between 15-25% slaves.  

Without getting setting a new personal record for going off topic, slavery in those eras was a much less abusive institution than the American South or Caribbean.

The renaming project is about more than just slavery; that's why the committee suggests changing ALL honorifics regardless of the honored person's achievements. 

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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On 11/2/2023 at 11:52 AM, Charlie Spencer said:

The responses were enough to remind me what a great forum Whatbird is.  Members here are able to disagree without feeling it necessary to insult people.  I doubt I'll be going back.

I got though 2 comments and decided the the site wasn't for me.

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12 hours ago, SageGrouse said:

I got though 2 comments and decided the the site wasn't for me.

I decided if no one responded to them, that things couldn't get any better.  I replied with a post that focused on the value of bird names that gave some information about the bird.  I didn't mention the historical aspects of the names at all.

I doubt it changes any minds but I felt the subject deserved more explanation than the brief article provided.

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The Nov. 8th 'Life List' podcast includes an interview with Ad Hoc committee member Alvaro Jaramillo.  He's one of the regular panel on the podcast but in this episode, he's acting as a guest and insider on the topic.  The episode is a deep-dive (70 minutes) with lots of Q&A about the committee's processes and decisions.

 https://lifelistpodcast.com

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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