are they changing bird names

About the American Ornithological Society

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is a global organization that aims to bridge the gap between ornithologists, science, and bird conservation. It does this by promoting broad access to ornithological science, encouraging science that advances our understanding of birds, assisting ornithologists in their career endeavors, and cultivating a friendly, diverse, encouraging, and vibrant ornithological community. The AOS organizes an annual conference that draws ornithologists from all over the world, in addition to publishing two highly regarded international scientific journals, Ornithology and Ornithological Applications. Its generous grants program funds professional research projects by students and those in their early careers. The official sources for scientific nomenclature and English common names of birds in the Americas are the Society’s check-lists. Additionally, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The AOS collaborate on the online Birds of the World, a comprehensive database that includes species accounts of all bird species worldwide. The AOS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with roughly 3,000 members worldwide. For more information, see www. americanornithology. org.

Scientists Will Establish a New Multidisciplinary Naming Entity and Seek Public Input, Beginning with 70–80 Bird Species in the U.S. and Canada

are they changing bird names

CHICAGO (November 1, 2023)—The American Ornithological Society (AOS) today announced that it will change all English bird names currently named after people within its geographic jurisdiction in an effort to right historical wrongs and involve far more people in the enjoyment, protection, and study of birds. Additionally, the AOS will alter the procedure used to choose English names for bird species. The project will start in 2024 and initially concentrate on 70–80 bird species that are mostly found in the United S. and Canada.

are they changing bird names

“A name has power, and certain English bird names have historical connotations that are still detrimental and exclusive today.” AOS President Colleen Handel, Ph.D., stated, “We need a much more inclusive and engaging scientific process that focuses attention on the unique features and beauty of the birds themselves.” D. , a research wildlife biologist with the U. S. Geological Survey in Alaska. “Birds need our assistance now more than ever, and everyone who loves and cares about them should be able to enjoy and study them freely.” ”.

For a considerable amount of time, ornithologists have struggled with historical and modern practices that lead to the marginalization of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, such as the naming of birds. For instance, the AOS dubbed a tiny prairie songbird on the Great Plains “Thick-billed Longspur” in 2020. ” The bird’s original name—honoring John P. McCown, a hobbyist naturalist who subsequently rose to the rank of general in the Confederate Army amid the S. The Civil War was seen as a tragic connection between racism and slavery.

The AOS is acting decisively today to completely reframe the debate over birds bearing human names. The scientific society is specifically announcing three modifications to the manner in which it and its predecessor organizations have conducted business since the 1880s:

  • The AOS pledges to alter all English-language names of birds found within its territorial jurisdiction that are directly derived from people (eponyms), as well as any other names that are considered derogatory or exclusive. Prioritizing first those species that are predominantly found in the U.S. S. or Canada.
  • The AOS agrees to form a new committee to supervise the assignment of all English common names for species that fall under its purview. This committee will include a diverse range of people with backgrounds in the social sciences, communications, ornithology, and taxonomy, thereby increasing participation.
  • The AOS pledges to actively involve members of the public in the process of choosing new names for English birds.

“As scientists, we work to eliminate bias in science. However, there has historically been bias in the naming of birds and the people who could have a bird named after them. The 1800s’ restrictive naming practices, tainted by racism and misogyny, are out of date. It is time to change this procedure and shift the focus back to the birds, where it belongs, according to Judith Scarl, Ph.D. D. , AOS Executive Director and CEO. Being a part of this new vision makes me proud, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with a wide range of experts and bird enthusiasts to create an inclusive naming structure. ”.

North America has lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970. Says Scarl, “To reverse these alarming bird population declines, we need as many people as possible to get excited about birds and unite to protect them.”

The official English names for birds in North America (and, more recently, South America) have been maintained on file by the AOS and its predecessor, the American Ornithologists’ Union, since 1886. Schools, colleges, government organizations, environmental groups, the news media, artists, writers, birdwatchers, photographers, and many other English-speaking people throughout the world use these names extensively. As new details about the ecology and evolution of these birds are discovered by scientists, these English names are frequently updated.

In addition to their official English names, birds, like all living things, have a two-part scientific name that scientists use to communicate among themselves across languages and nationalities. For example, Haliaeetus leucocephalus is the scientific name for the Bald Eagle. Scientific names will not be changed as a part of the AOS English bird names initiative, but they are regularly reviewed and updated by the AOS’s North American and South American classification committees in response to new scientific research and following the naming rules of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.

In 2024, the AOS will launch a comprehensive, open, and scientifically rigorous pilot program to test its new strategy for English bird names in the U.S. S. and Canada. Furthermore, the AOS has committed to having a wider range of discussions with Latin American ornithologists and organizations before moving forward with Latin American name changes because it has gained a new perspective on its authority over the English names of Latin American birds. Interested parties are welcome to monitor the development of this project at www americanornithology. In the upcoming months and years, @AmOrnith and org will be present on popular social media platforms.

Nol reports that she saw the Wilson’s Snipe, a common bird with a long bill that performs dramatic displays like flying in high circles and whistling due to air passing over specialized feathers, while she was recently visiting some salt marshes this summer. “And I thought, what a terrible name,” she says. “Yes, Wilson founded modern ornithology in North America, but this bird possesses so many other striking traits. “.


Is Audubon changing bird names?

Pledge to stand with Audubon to call on elected officials to listen to science and work towards climate solutions. Update: On November 1, 2023, the American Ornithological Society announced that it will change all English bird names currently named after people.

Why are they renaming Cooper’s hawk?

The murder of George Floyd and the racial profiling of Black birder Christian Cooper prompted a group of ornithologists to form Bird Names for Birds, a movement that called on AOS and its North American Classification Committee to eliminate all eponymous names.

What waterfowl species are being renamed?

North American birds that were named after people will be given new monikers. The American Ornithological Society plans in 2024 to begin renaming up to 80 bird species, and three waterfowl species—Ross’s goose, Barrow’s goldeneyes, and Steller’s eiders—are likely to be among the birds that are given new names.

What’s the proper name for birds?

The scientific name of birds is Aves. The class Aves can be further classified into two categories: Archaeornithes and Neornithes.