why are they renaming birds

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. “.

The American Ornithological Society said the effort will begin in 2024 and kick off by renaming 70-80 bird species that live primarily within the U.S. and Canada.

The American Ornithological Society declared on Wednesday that, in an effort to right historical wrongs and foster greater public participation, it will alter the English names of birds bearing human names.

“As scientists, our goal is to eradicate prejudice in science,” AOS President and CEO Judith Scarl stated. However, there has historically been bias in the naming of birds and who gets to have a bird named after them. “.

For example, the AOS noted how the original name of a small prairie songbird found on the Great Plains, McCowns Longspur, was considered a painful link to slavery and racism as it honored amateur naturalist and later Confederate Army Gen. John P. McCown. In 2020, the AOS renamed the bird to “Thick-billed Longspur.”

why are they renaming birds

“The 1800s saw the development of exclusive naming conventions that are still in use today, tainted by racism and misogyny. It is time to change this process and shift the focus back to the birds, where it belongs,” Scarl declared.

According to AOS, the renaming initiative will get underway in 2024 and focus on renaming 70–80 bird species that are predominantly found in the United S. and Canada. The AOS further stated that it now recognizes its authority over Latin American bird names in English.

Additionally, a new multidisciplinary naming entity will be established, and the public will be contacted to provide feedback.

The AOS stated that bird names will remain as they are, such as Haliaeetus leucocephalus for the bald eagle. Nonetheless, classification committees within the AOS regularly review and update them in compliance with new research and the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature’s naming guidelines.

why are they renaming birds

The AOS states that ornithologists have struggled with historical and modern practices that they claim exclude black, indigenous, and other people of color, such as the naming of birds.

“Names have power, and there are English bird names with historical connotations that are still harmful and exclusive today,” said Colleen Handel, president of AOS and a research wildlife biologist with the U.S. S. Geological Survey in Alaska.

“We require a scientific process that is much more inclusive and engaging and that concentrates attention on the distinctive characteristics and beauty of the birds themselves,” Handel continued. “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.” “.

why are they renaming birds

Scarl wants to increase public interest in birds and inspire people to band together to safeguard them. Citing the website 3billionbirds. North America has lost almost 3 billion birds since 1970, according to AOS.org. Download the FOX Weather App Available on iOS & Android.


Why are they changing names of birds?

Many of these names honor people, usually white men, who engaged in racist acts. For example, John James Audubon owned slaves, and John Kirk Townsend robbed skulls from Native American graves. Changing these names helps separate birds from this harmful, exclusionary history.

What bird 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.

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.

Why is Anna’s Hummingbird being renamed?

Why birds like Cooper’s Hawk and Anna’s Hummingbird are getting new names. The official English-language naming organization for birds in the U.S. is making a bold move to prevent potentially offensive bird names. It’s renaming all birds currently named to honor people. NPR’s Nell Greenfieldboyce reports.