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New official Checklist of the birds of Germany sparks debate

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Old Friday 25th January 2019, 17:12   #51
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That's "fanfare" not "fan-fair", which is one good reason why people should learn names properly and not mess about with them improperly.

Another thing - nobody gains from someone putting "Common" or "European" in front of something else just because other birds with the same main noun have a qualifier. A Robin is a Robin is a Robin, and never mind the fact that there's an American Robin (which isn't a Robin, but good luck with changing it) and about 120 others - even including Bush Robin and a couple of other groups as one each. European Accentor is a godless invention of a chronic tinkerer.

Which seems to be the problem all over. I see a lot of this at work: with people doing a tour of a couple of years in post, they feel the need to make their mark, so as soon as they arrive they feel they have to change something.... nobody ever made their name by saying the last person had it exactly right! Change for the sake of change. Invalidation of what you've always known and for that matter all written references, guides, common understandings, for no good reason.

Add that to James's expressed feeling that "Dunnock" - a perfectly good Middle English vernacular name that antedates everything else he wants to put in its place and is still in common use - is "wrong" and you get a chronic tinkerer with an over-inflated sense of the importance of what he thinks. It's not wrong, its been tried, tested and stuck with for centuries. James is wrong. He just can't see it, even when he's told to his face. He still wants to change stuff that's perfectly all right.

The same applies to the German committee, which has allowed the fact of its existence to go to its collective head. They aren't there to generate change. they are there to minimise and manage it when it is unavoidable. They should examine their terms of reference (and so should German birders, to make sure they aren't already exceeding them).

To finish, I've quoted this before but it bears repeating because its a Freudian slip of pure delight. In my copy of Collins (1st edition, never bothered upgrading) the entry for what is, sadly, labelled Bearded Reedling includes the following:

"A small, light yellowish-brown bird with long pale yellow-brown tail glimpsed among the dense jungle of reeds should always be a Bearded Tit."

The author's own hand, when writing his piece, was so revolted by his adulteration of centuries of tradition, that it betrayed him and stuck up for the Bearded Tit: and all the pre-publication proof-readers missed it because they saw what their own minds told them was right.

Here endeth the lesson.

John
Hey, John. Can you do us all a favour and nip up to Westminster and sort out this Brexit mess for us. I'm sure you could have it all done and dusted in a morning and back in time for tea.
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Old Friday 25th January 2019, 17:52   #52
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Hey, John. Can you do us all a favour and nip up to Westminster and sort out this Brexit mess for us. I'm sure you could have it all done and dusted in a morning and back in time for tea.
I'd love to but apparently I voted the wrong way....

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Old Saturday 26th January 2019, 21:59   #53
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Back to German names: for Bullfinch, the locals here say "Dompfaff" where I will use the official "Gimpel", yet we know what we mean. Anything better than the nonsensical Dutch name (which means "Goldfinch").

I have an old East-German fieldguide which used different names for the phalaropes, which are called (approximately) "Odin's little hen" and "Thor's little hen" in the west! Obviously these names could not be used in the country of truly existing socialism. I could never remember which is which, so I'd favour a change, haha (this only changed after I found a Red-necked Phalarope on my local patch)!
They also used "Willow Warbler" instead of "Fitis": no idea why they did this.

The name for Barnacle Goose has been switched from "Nun Goose" to "White-cheeked Goose" (some people still use the old name). Most people will (still) say "Fish Heron" instead of the official "Grey Heron"

I can deal with the gulls, even though the meanings of the Dutch names are different from both the English and the German names (where the Dutch are usually, but not always, closer to the English names).
It's bad enough that a Brandgans (NL) is not a Brandgans (D) is not a Brent Goose (UK)...

I'm not against getting rid of names which could be seen as offensive, although there's no need to become oversensitive and the new name should be easy. Did they change "Moorente" too? (Weißaugenente would suit me!)
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Old Saturday 26th January 2019, 23:11   #54
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Back to German names: for Bullfinch, the locals here say "Dompfaff" where I will use the official "Gimpel", yet we know what we mean.
As in Danish "Dompap"
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I have an old East-German fieldguide which used different names for the phalaropes, which are called (approximately) "Odin's little hen" and "Thor's little hen" in the west! Obviously these names could not be used in the country of truly existing socialism. I could never remember which is which, so I'd favour a change, haha (this only changed after I found a Red-necked Phalarope on my local patch)!

Again, Danish Odinshane & Thorshane (except 'hane' is a male term, so more 'Odin's Cock' and 'Thor's Cock')

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They also used "Willow Warbler" instead of "Fitis": no idea why they did this.
An English name in a German book? Or the German translation of that?

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Did they change "Moorente" too? (Weißaugenente would suit me!)
Why would that be changed? Surely Moor (marsh) isn't offensive in any way?
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Old Saturday 26th January 2019, 23:20   #55
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Hi,

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Back to German names: for Bullfinch, the locals here say "Dompfaff" where I will use the official "Gimpel", yet we know what we mean.
I believe "Dompfaff" and "Nonnengans" fell out of favour because of their religious connotations. However, my impression was that "Dompfaff" was a Protestant name poking fun at the ornate of catholic priests, so it might not have been as popular in Catholic parts of Germany.

Personally, I like both of these better than the (new) standard names.

"Weißwangengans" really is clumsy and uninspiring, and borderline confusing as the Canada goose has prominent white streaks on the cheeks as well.

I should look up the etymology of "Gimpel" one day, it's a bit of a weird word I can't place. (Oh well - "Die Namen der Vögel Europas" states it from Middle High German "gimpel-gempel", which means "to hop". Kluge's "Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache" considers that unconvincing and suggests a possible connection to the Old French "Guimple", which seems to be a term for some kind of veil or headdress. Still weird.)

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I'm not against getting rid of names which could be seen as offensive, although there's no need to become oversensitive and the new name should be easy. Did they change "Moorente" too? (Weißaugenente would suit me!)
"Moorente" means "Bog Duck", so I don't think it will need to be changed. What was changed was the "Mohrenlerche", phonetically similar but etymologically derived from Latin "Maurus", and probably equivalent to the British "Moor". However, the German "Mohr" had taken the meaning "black person", and while my impression is that it was already obsolescent in the 19th century, I can see why ornithologists would want to get rid of it today.

The new name "Schwarzsteppenlerche" seems strange at first because according to German linguistic habits, that would mean "lark of the black steppe". However, I was surprsied to read that the lark seems to be a great fan of a terrain type properly known as "Schwarzsteppe" in German, so the name probably is better chosen than I initially thought.

Regards,

Henning
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Old Sunday 27th January 2019, 09:00   #56
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An English name in a German book? Or the German translation of that?
Weidenlaubsänger, of course.

Although the map of Europe in said book had Dutch names...
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Old Sunday 27th January 2019, 09:01   #57
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"Moorente" means "Bog Duck", so I don't think it will need to be changed.
I just mixed up Mohr and Moor!
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Old Sunday 27th January 2019, 09:08   #58
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Names can change, but it should be a gradual process, or agreed, rather than imposed ... +1

Out of interest ...

Waldrapp and Sprosser were two that were used in the previous English Collins book (Heinzel, Fitter and Parslow)... but not any more. What's the story behind those two?
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Old Sunday 27th January 2019, 10:54   #59
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Names can change, but it should be a gradual process, or agreed, rather than imposed ... +1

Out of interest ...

Waldrapp and Sprosser were two that were used in the previous English Collins book (Heinzel, Fitter and Parslow)... but not any more. What's the story behind those two?
I don't know about the etymology other than what wikipedia suggests (Sprosser being probably related to [Sommersprosse, i.e. "freckle", referring to the chest pattern. Sprosse itself means "plant shoot/seedling"), but these names are still officially used for those two species.
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 09:42   #60
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After reading the OP, I was worried that this will devolve into a discussion on vernacular names. Seroously people, those do not matter, people will still call birds what they want and if they seriously need to sort a confusion, they always have the Latin system to check, where is the problem? Can we rather return to the real issue at hand, namely:

Can people please stop ******* up WP listing on an annual basis?

As if it weren't difficult as it is already! Some 60-odd countries are in question and each of them has its own private list with no real overarching authority, so figuring out whether a rarity/cat. C bird I have seen oitside of my countries counts is already a detective work! I can understand changes due to new knowledge or established populations, but changes because someone just got a new opinion are outrageously disrespectful to any foreign birders who simply can't follow your current local whims (which often aren't even properly explained in English anywhere).
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 10:31   #61
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Seroously people, those do not matter, people will still call birds what they want and if they seriously need to sort a confusion, they always have the Latin system to check, where is the problem?
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 11:44   #62
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After reading the OP, I was worried that this will devolve into a discussion on vernacular names. Seroously people, those do not matter, people will still call birds what they want and if they seriously need to sort a confusion, they always have the Latin system to check, where is the problem? Can we rather return to the real issue at hand, namely:

Can people please stop ******* up WP listing on an annual basis?

As if it weren't difficult as it is already! Some 60-odd countries are in question and each of them has its own private list with no real overarching authority, so figuring out whether a rarity/cat. C bird I have seen oitside of my countries counts is already a detective work! I can understand changes due to new knowledge or established populations, but changes because someone just got a new opinion are outrageously disrespectful to any foreign birders who simply can't follow your current local whims (which often aren't even properly explained in English anywhere).
There is a level of irony in saying "people will call birds whatever names they want" and then demand that people rigidly conform to a concept of what is tickable.

By the same logic, can't you just a. Tick what you want or b. Pick an all encompassing western pal list that suits you?

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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 12:06   #63
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There is a level of irony in saying "people will call birds whatever names they want" and then demand that people rigidly conform to a concept of what is tickable.

By the same logic, can't you just a. Tick what you want or b. Pick an all encompassing western pal list that suits you?

Owen
There is no irony. If you wanna have a competition with other people, you need consistent rules, otherwise it's no fun at all. The logical rules are to follow local checklists for birds seen in a country, because that's where the information about which birds are established in which country should be. However this simply doesn't work if the countries in question start flip floping on their opinions. Yes, there can be a global list, but a) who is gonna maintain it and based on what data? and b) for many species it makes sense to view them differently in different places. So again, the most practical solution would be to leave it to the locals.

Meanwhile, how do people call the birds in any language has no practical impact on anyyhing (as long as there is a unique identifier for the case of confusion) besides few guys who strongly need to hear their preffered version for some reason.
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 12:20   #64
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There is no irony. If you wanna have a competition with other people, you need consistent rules, otherwise it's no fun at all. The logical rules are to follow local checklists for birds seen in a country, because that's where the information about which birds are established in which country should be. However this simply doesn't work if the countries in question start flip floping on their opinions. Yes, there can be a global list, but a) who is gonna maintain it and based on what data? and b) for many species it makes sense to view them differently in different places. So again, the most practical solution would be to leave it to the locals.

Meanwhile, how do people call the birds in any language has no practical impact on anyyhing (as long as there is a unique identifier for the case of confusion) besides few guys who strongly need to hear their preffered version for some reason.
I've heard this competition line before, I've never bought into it tbh, but where that falls down would obviously be a case where you have a national committee who are blatantly incompetent. So as pointed out in another thread, an organization that doesn't even maintain that list, https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...=371920&page=2

Or indeed isn't competent at the main role of it's recording system.
https://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.co...nd-of.html?m=1

So again, pick a list of species that covers the entire region and decide for yourself whether you have seen species X in those boundaries and indeed what those boundaries are.

It's not as if there is a massive number of taxonomic bodies doing this, and there's nothing to stop you counting up your list for multiples of them.

As an aside, if you found a new species for some country tomorrow, were 100% happy it was the species claimed, maybe even had photos, but said country's committee rejected it.... would you not tick it?

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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 12:46   #65
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Hi Jan,

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After reading the OP, I was worried that this will devolve into a discussion on vernacular names. Seroously people, those do not matter, people will still call birds what they want
Well, sounds like you're not aware of the two decades of strife and confusion caused by the equally "optional" German orthography reform. Academics messing with the German language with the attitude of infallible scientific superiority certainly strike a cultural nerve after that.

And your "do not matter" really depends on the question, "to whom"? Your competitive focus on taxonomy will probably strike the academics responsible for the document that spawned this discussion as just as irrelevant as the concerns of birders who are attached to the traditional names.

Not to say I don't understand (and share) your desire for predictability and consistency ... in fact, I believe we're very much "in the same boat" there. Ever thought about going the grass roots route and setting up an internet platform for the competitive birders to agree on consistent counting using community-selected lists?

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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 13:31   #66
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Ever thought about going the grass roots route and setting up an internet platform for the competitive birders to agree on consistent counting using community-selected lists?
So you could set up a list where you had the option of ticking Ziegenmelker, or of ticking Nachtschwalbe . . . or, if you want to boost your totals, tick both?
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 13:31   #67
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After reading the OP, I was worried that this will devolve into a discussion on vernacular names. Seroously people, those do not matter, people will still call birds what they want and if they seriously need to sort a confusion, they always have the Latin system to check, where is the problem?
I don't think you understand. There's ample evidence in history to show us that the written word does matter, that oral traditions can become lost very easily with cultural shifts etc. (do I really need to give a list of examples?). Standardized names written in textbooks and field guides will be inevitably memorized by new generations of scientists, bureaucrats, birders, and casual birdwatchers, and eventually supplant the real vernacular names. Add to that what Henning said about the recent history of scholarly/scientific arrogance in Germany, and you should be able to see that those are very rational concerns and not just the ramblings of the usual suspects.


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Can we rather return to the real issue at hand, namely:

Can people please stop ******* up WP listing on an annual basis?
Well, I'm not saying you're wrong about the list issue, but it's not the topic of the thread.
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 13:46   #68
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Hi,

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So you could set up a list where you had the option of ticking Ziegenmelker, or of ticking Nachtschwalbe . . . or, if you want to boost your totals, tick both?
That wouldn't really give you a competitive advantage as everyone else using the same system would get the same boost automatically :-)

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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 14:00   #69
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That wouldn't really give you a competitive advantage as everyone else using the same system would get the same boost automatically :-)

Regards,

Henning
Isn't that the point?

I'm sure that most WP listers will apply IOC or Clements, I doubt than many (any) will take the ruling of any national committee, over either, especially if losing a tick?

What a national committee does or doesn't count, doesn't matter in the context of a uniform, WP list compiled by a recognised body. What you'd end up with is a national list for every country rather than a WP list. I personally use the IOC and rigidly stick to it, wherever I am, simple.

I'd like to ask Jan, if this is such an issue for you, how do you count your WP list?
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 14:43   #70
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Isn't that the point?

I'm sure that most WP listers will apply IOC or Clements, I doubt than many (any) will take the ruling of any national committee, over either, especially if losing a tick?

What a national committee does or doesn't count, doesn't matter in the context of a uniform, WP list compiled by a recognised body. What you'd end up with is a national list for every country rather than a WP list. I personally use the IOC and rigidly stick to it, wherever I am, simple.

I'd like to ask Jan, if this is such an issue for you, how do you count your WP list?
I count my WP list according to rules of the Czech competition, which are exactly as I stated above: for a bird to tick, it has to be cat. A or C in country of observation. As taxonomy, we use IOC and there is a list of species, but that still doesn't mean that every species should tick in every country. As an example, Wood Duck is on the list but does not tick in Czech Republic (where no breeding in the wild has ever documented afaik). The German list is then quite important, because it used to have a lot of C's that aren't on the Czech list - again for a good reason, if you wanna tick Parakeets in WP, you certainly need to it in a place where they actually breed, not just someone's pet on a morning flyabout ...

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Well, I'm not saying you're wrong about the list issue, but it's not the topic of the thread.
The opening post specifically lists birds demoted from cat. C and comments on it, how is that suddenly not the topic of the thread?
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 15:18   #71
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I count my WP list according to rules of the Czech competition, which are exactly as I stated above: for a bird to tick, it has to be cat. A or C in country of observation. As taxonomy, we use IOC and there is a list of species, but that still doesn't mean that every species should tick in every country. As an example, Wood Duck is on the list but does not tick in Czech Republic (where no breeding in the wild has ever documented afaik). The German list is then quite important, because it used to have a lot of C's that aren't on the Czech list - again for a good reason, if you wanna tick Parakeets in WP, you certainly need to it in a place where they actually breed, not just someone's pet on a morning flyabout ...
I see what you mean now, you mean categories rather than splits / lumps.
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 15:25   #72
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That wouldn't really give you a competitive advantage as everyone else using the same system would get the same boost automatically :-)

Regards,

Henning
Except for those who refuse to use one or the other name on principle

Like I refuse to use the renaming of Black Vulture (Mönchsgeier) with a ridiculous name that means "pale greyish-white vulture".
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 15:27   #73
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'S obvious. What we need is a European Fair Ticking Association (EFTA) which would have a single list controlled by a European Unified Recording Organisation (Euro) using the European Recording Mechanism (ERM). Rarities would be reported via a hotline (EURING).

Birders from states outside the ERM on its inception say, at the end of March this year, would not be permitted to keep a WP list and would instead have a West European B***S*** Count.

Competitive listing would be under the control of the International Olympic Committee.

All listing and recording would, naturally, be in English, the only truly world-wide language.

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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 16:00   #74
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Hi,

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Like I refuse to use the renaming of Black Vulture (Mönchsgeier) with a ridiculous name that means "pale greyish-white vulture".
"Mönchsgeier" is another one of those names with religious connotation ... wonder how long that one will remain!

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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 16:04   #75
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'S obvious. What we need is a European Fair Ticking Association (EFTA) which would have a single list controlled by a European Unified Recording Organisation (Euro) using the European Recording Mechanism (ERM). Rarities would be reported via a hotline (EURING).

Birders from states outside the ERM on its inception say, at the end of March this year, would not be permitted to keep a WP list and would instead have a West European B***S*** Count.

Competitive listing would be under the control of the International Olympic Committee.

All listing and recording would, naturally, be in English, the only truly world-wide language.

John
I think a council for the unification of national taxonomic systems would be preferable.
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