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Renaming all North American Birds

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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 15:44   #26
dantheman
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Okay, can we at least get Aggressive Hawk? That's just so cool!
If it was in the UK that would play right into the hands of those who want to shoot all raptors

Ubiquitous Storm-Petrel gets my vote as one of the worst.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 15:54   #27
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Is this just people with nothing better to do in Lock-down? Or as a result of the Black-lives-matter campaign - which I wholeheartedly support. But this is just change for changes sake. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The only one I ever liked from the 'change' over here is Rosy Starling.
Yes, not all the “new” names were bad, and Rosy Starling is excellent, concise and descriptive. I’ve also always rather liked Hedge Accentor, even though it generally hasn’t replaced Dunnock, which is at least briefer, though Accentor sounds more exotic.

With you on BLM. Coming out of the pharmacy the other day I noticed a black guy with placards on the dashboard of his car. If I’d seen them earlier and thought of it quicker, I might have taken the knee as a sign of solidarity (though I might have needed help getting up afterwards).
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 16:01   #28
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Originally Posted by opisska View Post
Okay, can we at least get Agressive Hawk? That's just so cool!
It would counterbalance the existence of Peaceful dove (Geopelia placida).

Using the same analogy, we have a Sad flycatcher (Myiarchus barbirostris) and a Happy wren (Pheugopedius felix), and a bit far-stretched, a Vivid Niltava (Niltava vivida) and a Dead sea sparrow (Passer moabiticus)

We also have Bornean shade-dwellers and Plains-wanderers.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 16:01   #29
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Keep in mind that some of these Americanisms are a necessity here. When you are birding in the UK, and someone says they saw a Wren, you know exactly what they are talking about. If I said that to a local birder...well, do you mean Sedge, Marsh, House, Carolina, or Winter?
Oh, certainly, Wren on its own is only appropriate in Europe.

However, when Trump causes the final collapse of the USA and you have to rejoin the Empire, one of the first measures we will enforce (after driving on the left), is the re-naming of all American sparrows to buntings
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 16:39   #30
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Except Pallas's Gull. Which was and always should have remained an appropriate four-word name: Great Black-headed Gull.

(It's tempting to use every single one of the emojis available on my right to accompany the above statement of fact, but I shall resist that temptation and leave each to their own...)
As ever, there's always an exception!
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 17:16   #31
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We had a big attempted re-naming of English bird names here in the UK a few years ago, including trying to impose some Americanisms (“Winter Wren” for our sole Wren species, anyone). Hardly any are used. In many cases “Common”, “Northern”, “European” or “Eurasian” was simply tacked onto the common name - I still can’t remember which of those was applied to our (the real) Robin, but I always preferred Not BB’s “Northern Orange-breasted Robin-chat”.

Anyway, no reason why you Yanks shouldn’t suffer in your turn
Lapland Bunting will always be a Lapland Bunting in my eyes.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 17:19   #32
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Originally Posted by opisska View Post
Okay, can we at least get Agressive Hawk? That's just so cool!
All hawks are aggressive, shouldn't it be renamed "the slightly-more-aggressive-than-usual hawk' Jan?
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 17:27   #33
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It would counterbalance the existence of Peaceful dove (Geopelia placida).

Using the same analogy, we have a Sad flycatcher (Myiarchus barbirostris) and a Happy wren (Pheugopedius felix), and a bit far-stretched, a Vivid Niltava (Niltava vivida) and a Dead sea sparrow (Passer moabiticus)

We also have Bornean shade-dwellers and Plains-wanderers.
I have argued for a long time against naming things after things named after something - the classic example being the "Piece Race Bridge" in Prague, named after a race that honored peace (let's put aside for a moment the quality of such honor by a 80's east bloc event), which is redundant and the "Peace Bridge" would be more logical.

Now the Dead Sea does not actually commemorate death, as it is more of a description of the properties of the sea, so I am not sure, if I can raise the same objection against Dead Sea Sparrow, but Dead Sparrow sounds too funny as a species name not to at least try!

EDIT:

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All hawks are aggressive, shouldn't it be renamed "the slightly-more-aggressive-than-usual hawk' Jan?
Seeing this brilliant argument, I am also willing to settle for Slighty-more-dead-than-usual Sparrow.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 17:36   #34
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LOL if you think this will end with common names. Think they won't go after "problematic" binomials next and bring down the whole system of zoological nomenclature?
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 17:37   #35
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Originally Posted by opisska View Post
I have argued for a long time against naming things after things named after something - the classic example being the "Piece Race Bridge" in Prague, named after a race that honored peace (let's put aside for a moment the quality of such honor by a 80's east bloc event), which is redundant and the "Peace Bridge" would be more logical.

Now the Dead Sea does not actually commemorate death, as it is more of a description of the properties of the sea, so I am not sure, if I can raise the same objection against Dead Sea Sparrow, but Dead Sparrow sounds too funny as a species name not to at least try!

EDIT:



Seeing this brilliant argument, I am also willing to settle for Slighty-more-dead-than-usual Sparrow.
Should be reserved for the Slighty-more-dead-than-usual Seaside Sparrow (aka Dusky Seaside Sparrow in US, now extinct), although maybe the seaside bit should still go as that sounds like too much fun (fairground rides, candyfloss and the like) and inapropriate frivolity in the circumstances.

Always liked the name Powerful Owl, and isn't there another buzzard or eagle in the same vein?
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 17:54   #36
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There is already a bird named Consumed Scrubfowl:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumed_scrubfowl
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:00   #37
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There is already a bird named Consumed Scrubfowl:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumed_scrubfowl
And silly me thought that Edible Dormouse is the pinnacle of weird naming.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:03   #38
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And silly me thought that Edible Dormouse is the pinnacle of weird naming.
People eat that, what's odd about the name?

Bastard Big-footed Mouse is my favourite.

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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:05   #39
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People eat that, what's odd about the name?

Bastard Big-footed Mouse is my favourite.

John
People eat beef and I don't see Edible Tur running around pastures :)

My wife is particularly fond of Shining Sunbeam.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:15   #40
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Oh, certainly, Wren on its own is only appropriate in Europe.

However, when Trump causes the final collapse of the USA and you have to rejoin the Empire, one of the first measures we will enforce (after driving on the left), is the re-naming of all American sparrows to buntings
Why would China make us rename our sparrows?

P.S. our sparrows are not buntings either...the family was split a few years ago.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:15   #41
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Lapland Bunting will always be a Lapland Bunting in my eyes.
Likewise Bearded Tit

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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:27   #42
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Bearded Tit will always be Lapland Bunting? Now I am confused!
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:31   #43
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Problem with Aggressive Hawk is that it either implies all other hawks are peaceful, or implies that Cooper's is especially aggressive. Goshawk is far far more aggressive stateside than Cooper's. Also aggressive is such a generic word that in conversation it might be difficult if someone is referring to the behavior of a given hawk or the species. If I am attacked by an aggressive hawk, does that mean I was attacked by an Aggressive Hawk, or just a territorial bird of another species? It's like naming a gull Large Gull...okay, do you mean it was a gull that was big, or that it was the specific species Large Gull?
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:38   #44
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Originally Posted by Mysticete View Post
Problem with Aggressive Hawk is that it either implies all other hawks are peaceful, or implies that Cooper's is especially aggressive. Goshawk is far far more aggressive stateside than Cooper's. Also aggressive is such a generic word that in conversation it might be difficult if someone is referring to the behavior of a given hawk or the species. If I am attacked by an aggressive hawk, does that mean I was attacked by an Aggressive Hawk, or just a territorial bird of another species? It's like naming a gull Large Gull...okay, do you mean it was a gull that was big, or that it was the specific species Large Gull?
You've not heard of Little Gull? But yes.

75% + of that list of suggested names aren't great. I had another look and actually wondering whether they are hoping to actually get them all changed, or it's just mainly something along the lines of a 'mind exercise'
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:39   #45
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I looked up Montezuma. During the Flower Wars tried to get as many people for human sacrifice as he could (wikipedia).
Yes, you need to know very little about Aztec culture to see that Montezuma may be a worse choice than Benjamin Franklin.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:42   #46
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This is definitely an influencing factor, without any doubt at all, let the science do the naming, not politics and not public opinion.

Without wishing to be offensive, what these latecomers to birding are doing, is akin to a Brit, arriving in America and changing all the rules to Ice Hockey. Birding has already become politicised recently, I hope it's a trend that dies, very quickly.
I very much doubt that the Black-lives-matter campaign is a significant factor here. The BLM movement started in 2013 but people have been dropping (or proposing the dropping of) eponymous bird names for decades (or longer). The primary consideration seems to be the desire for bird names to reflect an aspect of the bird rather than the people who found/named them more than a matter of post-colonial sensitivities (which is the other relevant factor, something perhaps allied to the BLM movement but quite distinct from it). Given the usual glacial slowness of changing colloquial names I suspect this process by which these names were arrived at likely go back to well before the BLM movement had a significant profile (and certainly nothing like the current one). About a fifth of the suggested c100 changes relate to "descriptive" names no longer regarded as being useful or accurate (e.g. Canada Warbler).

As for the name changes themselves many I find not in the least objectionable per se and, everything being equal, would much prefer a few names (e.g."Kinglet Vireo vs Hutton's). However, "Whimbrel Curlew", "Pink-Hued Gull" and "Mediterranean Shearwater" are absurd whilst changing Forster's Tern to "Marsh Tern" invites confusion with 'proper' Marsh Terns. The changes are also inconsistent retaining, for example, the name 'sparrow' and 'vulture'. Changing the latter to, say 'Turkey-Vulture' would at least allow us to revert to 'Black' Vulture for what many now call Cinereous or Monk Vulture.

However, everything isn't equal and the names we have are sanctified by use, familiar and remind us of pioneering naturalists who largely have no other monument and, with few exceptions (if any), were people of good character and reputation the commemoration of whom is unlikely to cause disquiet.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:44   #47
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Problem with Aggressive Hawk is that it either implies all other hawks are peaceful, or implies that Cooper's is especially aggressive. Goshawk is far far more aggressive stateside than Cooper's. Also aggressive is such a generic word that in conversation it might be difficult if someone is referring to the behavior of a given hawk or the species. If I am attacked by an aggressive hawk, does that mean I was attacked by an Aggressive Hawk, or just a territorial bird of another species? It's like naming a gull Large Gull...okay, do you mean it was a gull that was big, or that it was the specific species Large Gull?
There is plenty birds with generic adjective names, but the worst I met was Pale Crag Martin - it's 3 words, so you automatically don't click it as all being a part of the name - the first time I thought someone is trying to convince me it's a Crag Martin, but a pale one, which was clearly absurd.

To again brag about my language, Czech solves this perfectly, because it flips the word order for binomial names. Normally, you talk "adjective noun", but a species mame is "noun adjective" and it's obvious. But it only works because of declination - which generally makes a a Czech sentence comprehensible regardless of word order.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 18:47   #48
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Why would China make us rename our sparrows?

P.S. our sparrows are not buntings either...the family was split a few years ago.
Don’t come here spoiling things with your facts

On another note, I actually quite like “Ubiquitous Storm-petrel”. Just wish it was a bit more ubiquitous in Britain, particularly inland Britain. After all, if you can get a Great Shearwater in Milton Keynes...
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 19:08   #49
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What a dreadful and unimaginative set of suggested names. If you must rename Ross's gull, then why call it pink-hued gull when the name rosy gull would capture that feature in much more euphonious way and would also recall the original name. Similarly, the natural new name for Cooper's hawk should surely be blunt-shinned hawk, comical though the suggestion of aggressive hawk is.

More seriously if you want to get away from names that commemorate Dead Western European Males and the attitudes and history they imply (and there certainly seems to be a case for renaming McCown's longspur at least on that basis) then do it properly. Instead of arbitrarily choosing a new name for its bland correctness, go back to names used by the First Nation Americans and Canadians and use these as the basis of the new names. By nature this would need to be a long process involving a lot of consultation but that's inevitable if you want a credible set of names that birders might actually adopt.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 19:48   #50
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Originally Posted by wolfbirder View Post
All hawks are aggressive, shouldn't it be renamed "the slightly-more-aggressive-than-usual hawk' Jan?
Unless it's left leaning, then it will be 'Passive-aggresive Hawk Owl'.
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