What Kind of Bird is That?

BirdsofBC

POTN Refugee
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The decision to rename dozens of birds came after years of debate. Many birders have argued that species shouldn't be named after long-dead and problematic biologists.

John James Audubon, arguably America's most famous ornithologist, enslaved Black people. John Kirk Townsend, namesake of the Townsend's warbler and Townsend's solitaire, collected skulls stolen from Native American graves and argued Natives were racially inferior to whites.

Numerous species found in the Inland Northwest, such as the Steller's jay, Brewer's blackbird and Wilson's warbler, will likely receive new names in the coming years. The American Ornithological Society intends to focus on species named after enslavers, white supremacists and robbers of Indigenous graves.

so it looks like dozens of name changes are in the works. political correctness/wokeness will do its thing soon and "clean" the origins of the names of potentially several dozen species. so if you're terrible at naming birds now, it's going to get much worse.
 
Well, I've just called them warblers and blackbirds, so it won't change for me probably. :) :)
 
It doesn't matter because I never learned the old names. I can just learn the new ones now :p
 
Fantastic decision, long overdue. Too many shady characters had their names attached to birds. Of course, there wre good folks as well but it had to be an all or nothing decision as the AOS doesn’t want to be in the business or deciding who makes the good guy cut and who doesn’t. #birdnamesforbirds

On a personal note, my son was on an AOS committee that helped make this decision. As a POC birder, I couldn’t have been prouder.
 
Provided that BBJ is retained, I am agnostic.
 
so it looks like dozens of name changes are in the works. political correctness/wokeness will do its thing soon and "clean" the origins of the names of potentially several dozen species. so if you're terrible at naming birds now, it's going to get much worse.
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I am very much against such changes. In fact, it really pissed me off when they changed Oldsquaw to Long-tailed Duck. I still call them Oldsquaw most of the time.

Why the heck did they change "Gray Jay" to "Canada Jay"? There is nothing politically incorrect or offensive about the color gray. I think if they insist using a country's name in a new name, then to be even we should force them to rename another bird "United States Warbler", or "United States Heron", or some such thing.

I wish there would be more outrage over the use of the new names, so much so that Audubon, Cornell, and other self-appointed "authorities" would abandon any such plans to change names.
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The U.S. has it easy. The South Africans are changing names with a monotonous regularity.
 
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I am very much against such changes. In fact, it really pissed me off when they changed Oldsquaw to Long-tailed Duck. I still call them Oldsquaw most of the time.

Why the heck did they change "Gray Jay" to "Canada Jay"? There is nothing politically incorrect or offensive about the color gray. I think if they insist using a country's name in a new name, then to be even we should force them to rename another bird "United States Warbler", or "United States Heron", or some such thing.

I wish there would be more outrage over the use of the new names, so much so that Audubon, Cornell, and other self-appointed "authorities" would abandon any such plans to change names.
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Respectfully disagree, Tom. I think we shouldn’t mix two very different things here. I don’t know the reason for changing gray jay to Canada Jay. Chauvinism? Does Canada really need its name on a bird to feel relevant? Not sure.

But on the topic of removing names of really horrible people, I think it is overdue. As a person of color, I am going to cheer when the names of slave owners are removed from the nomenclature. I don’t care too much for grave robbers either.
 
Respectfully disagree, Tom. I think we shouldn’t mix two very different things here. I don’t know the reason for changing gray jay to Canada Jay. Chauvinism? Does Canada really need its name on a bird to feel relevant? Not sure.

But on the topic of removing names of really horrible people, I think it is overdue. As a person of color, I am going to cheer when the names of slave owners are removed from the nomenclature. I don’t care too much for grave robbers either.
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Even though I disagree with you about whether bird names in general should be changed or not, I respect your opinion and your viewpoint. I can even get behind changing a name or two for the specific reason that you mention.

I just hope to God that there is no "overreach" AT ALL, and that, moving forward, the ONLY names that get changed are those that blatantly honor people who engaged in acts that were truly horrific. If someone has a bird named after them, and they did or said things that were offensive, but not horrific civil rights crimes, then those names should stay as they are. We should focus on what people did as naturalists and explorers, and not on how they treated other people or what their political affiliations were (unless, of course, they committed horrific civil rights crimes).

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We should focus on what people did as naturalists and explorers, and not on how they treated other people or what their political affiliations were (unless, of course, they committed horrific civil rights crimes).
Difficult decisions would follow. Whether a deed short of murder was horrific can be argued endlessly, and what constitutes a crime changes when the law does. I don't know how a committee on names could possibly decide whose definitions to use.
 
From what I read, the AOS decided that they don’t want to be the arbiters of what constitutes human depravity (or not). So it became an all or nothing decision. So, monsters like Townsend will be gone from bird names but so will, presumably, Steller.
 
From what I read, the AOS decided that they don’t want to be the arbiters of what constitutes human depravity (or not). So it became an all or nothing decision. So, monsters like Townsend will be gone from bird names but so will, presumably, Steller.
Do you mean that NO names of people will be used as bird names anymore? That's horrible. The explorers and naturalists that were the first to formally report a species should always be who the bird gets named after. We really should continue to use people's surnames as the common and/or scientific names for species. Hopefully they leave the mammals alone, and this bird-brained idea of changing things only affects the birds.
 
Do you mean that NO names of people will be used as bird names anymore? That's horrible. The explorers and naturalists that were the first to formally report a species should always be who the bird gets named after. We really should continue to use people's surnames as the common and/or scientific names for species. Hopefully they leave the mammals alone, and this bird-brained idea of changing things only affects the birds.
I think the zoological names can still have people’s names. It’s only the common names that are being considered for the change.
 
Do you mean that NO names of people will be used as bird names anymore? That's horrible. The explorers and naturalists that were the first to formally report a species should always be who the bird gets named after. We really should continue to use people's surnames as the common and/or scientific names for species. Hopefully they leave the mammals alone, and this bird-brained idea of changing things only affects the birds.

I agree with you Tom. It is so confusing that the names are changing. I have a lot of bird photos and have stored them alphabetically under the scientific names. Now that's changing. You can imaging how confusing that is.
 
I think the days of explorers and random people "discovering" new species is over. These days, new species are discovered, more often than not, by scientists and researchers slogging their way through forests or deep in the ocean. So, the discoverer and the person publishing the results are often one and the same. In cases where the discoverer is an amateur, they would reach out to the nearby scientific establishment (museum, university, etc.) and have the pros take over the task of determining the taxonomy. I think the reasonable thing to do at this point would be for the scientist to name the organism after the amateur who found it first and I do believe this happens quite often.
 
I think the days of explorers and random people "discovering" new species is over. These days, new species are discovered, more often than not, by scientists and researchers slogging their way through forests or deep in the ocean. So, the discoverer and the person publishing the results are often one and the same. In cases where the discoverer is an amateur, they would reach out to the nearby scientific establishment (museum, university, etc.) and have the pros take over the task of determining the taxonomy. I think the reasonable thing to do at this point would be for the scientist to name the organism after the amateur who found it first and I do believe this happens quite often.
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I agree with everything you said here. Except that maybe new species aren't usually discovered by researchers in the field these days - they are gathered in the field, but "discovered" to be a new species in the DNA lab. I'm referring to insects, of course, as there are no (or barely any) new species of birds or mammals being discovered. I mean they may decide to divide individuals of a species into two separate species, if there are differences among them, but that is not by any means the discovery of a new species (such as the Greater Sage-grouse and the Gunnison Sage-grouse being separated some decades ago).
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I think the days of explorers and random people "discovering" new species is over. These days, new species are discovered, more often than not, by scientists and researchers slogging their way through forests or deep in the ocean.
Citizen science still finds numerous previously undescribed insects. Here's one example, a small wasp found in Canada.
 
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