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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Article on nomenclature in Africa. (1 Viewer)

Snapdragyn

Well-known member
I think adopting Mew Gull risks the same (although less in number) issue as retaining Winter Wren - birders will use the familiar name even if they are reporting the 'other half' of the split. I think the NACC did the right thing on this one. I hope they will revisit the regrettable Winter Wren decision in future.
 

Snapdragyn

Well-known member
I think adopting Mew Gull risks the same (although less in number) issue as retaining Winter Wren - birders will use the familiar name even if they are reporting the 'other half' of the split. I think the NACC did the right thing on this one. I hope they will revisit the regrettable Winter Wren decision in future.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
As I mentioned before in other threads, the example of Mew vs Common is pretty much the same case as Winter wren, as both species are regular vagrants to the East Coast. So keeping that name would be confusing for folks in the NE North America, just as Winter vs Pacific is confusing for people in Southern California.

I also think it's odd to consider them the least transparent, given that they as well as SACC are the only committees that post member votes, admittedly without names actually placed to votes.
I like the SACC process and think it is a great process. However, IOC has involved the community more in that they sometimes reconsider based on what outside people say, for example in threads on this forum. I agree that NACC does have some transparency by publishing their comments, but this does not happen as things progress, only long after the decisions have been made and published. I would use the wording "very stiff" to describe the NACC process.

Niels
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
As I mentioned before in other threads, the example of Mew vs Common is pretty much the same case as Winter wren, as both species are regular vagrants to the East Coast. So keeping that name would be confusing for folks in the NE North America, just as Winter vs Pacific is confusing for people in Southern California.

I also think it's odd to consider them the least transparent, given that they as well as SACC are the only committees that post member votes, admittedly without names actually placed to votes.
North America will never achieve anything either domestically or internationally as long as it keeps thinking just in terms of North America.

Siberian Tit.

John
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I think adopting Mew Gull risks the same (although less in number) issue as retaining Winter Wren - birders will use the familiar name even if they are reporting the 'other half' of the split. I think the NACC did the right thing on this one. I hope they will revisit the regrettable Winter Wren decision in future.

In this case I disagree - no one in the old world uses the name Mew Gull for the birds there. North American birders who are astute enough to be looking at Common Gulls in the old world will most likely, I should think, be aware of the fact that there are two species. North American birders finding a Common Gull in North America will absolutely be aware of the issue.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Here's a genuine question - when will Mew Gull cause confusion but Northern Harrier won't? How many North Americans are REALLY going to go to Europe or Asia, not have a field guide, not be aware of nomenclature or taxonomy, identify a Hen Harrier or Common Gull, and then take the effort to report the bird with the wrong name? Filtering on electronic platforms works well, as does common sense in the (laughably small) chance that someone files a paper report. Is this problem really a bigger issue than changing the name of Mew Gull and outmoding perhaps 10's if not 100+ million field guides?
 

jurek

Well-known member
It should be easy to create a filter which pops up warning message when an user tries to input a wrong name.

Ornitho has such warnings when a bird is wrong season or very rare species.
 

awiner

Well-known member
It should be easy to create a filter which pops up warning message when an user tries to input a wrong name.

Ornitho has such warnings when a bird is wrong season or very rare species.

As does eBird and people get it wrong All. The. Time.

Usually with comments like "seen this many times here, not rare".

Though in this case, it's at least partly the fault of eBird etc. The warnings shouldn't say "this is rare", it should say "This species has been split; are you sure you don't mean X, which is what is where you are now".
 

awiner

Well-known member
North America will never achieve anything either domestically or internationally as long as it keeps thinking just in terms of North America.

Siberian Tit.

John

We're solving that problem - it'll be a Palearctic endemic soon enough.

 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Here's a genuine question - when will Mew Gull cause confusion but Northern Harrier won't? How many North Americans are REALLY going to go to Europe or Asia, not have a field guide, not be aware of nomenclature or taxonomy, identify a Hen Harrier or Common Gull, and then take the effort to report the bird with the wrong name? Filtering on electronic platforms works well, as does common sense in the (laughably small) chance that someone files a paper report. Is this problem really a bigger issue than changing the name of Mew Gull and outmoding perhaps 10's if not 100+ million field guides?
While Hen Harrier isn't an impossible vagrant, as far as I know there are no known records from the ABA area. In contrast to Common Gull, which is an annual stray and probably present in small numbers. So not a comparable situation (And I am sure plenty of visiting birders have over the years not realized that the that the two were the same species prior to the split).
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
As does eBird and people get it wrong All. The. Time.

Usually with comments like "seen this many times here, not rare".

Though in this case, it's at least partly the fault of eBird etc. The warnings shouldn't say "this is rare", it should say "This species has been split; are you sure you don't mean X, which is what is where you are now".
I have ebird alerts (which often include bird reported before an editor can double-check) for Wisconsin and my county. I can certainly vouch that some weird species have ended up in those alerts, either through the person submitting making a very very wrong ID, or entering the wrong name without thinking.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
While Hen Harrier isn't an impossible vagrant, as far as I know there are no known records from the ABA area. In contrast to Common Gull, which is an annual stray and probably present in small numbers. So not a comparable situation (And I am sure plenty of visiting birders have over the years not realized that the that the two were the same species prior to the split).

Sorry but I cannot fathom someone being astute enough to find a Common Gull in North America and then being saved from logging it incorrectly by not finding Mew Gull in eBird.

Or perhaps the problem is the proper logging of Common Gull in the old world. In this case, shouldn't we rename Common Gull as well in order to avoid a short term data entry problem? Outmoding every field guide in the paleartic is certainly worth avoid THAT confusion, no? I'm obviously being facetious here but am trying to make a point. Are a few bad entries in eBird (and I have seen these lists too, and I have made wrong entries before, literally just the wrong species of a group of look-a-likes somewhere in the tropics) worth renaming a bird that's in 10's of millions or perhaps 100's of millions of printed field guides?
 

Muppit17

Well-known member
It should be easy to create a filter which pops up warning message when an user tries to input a wrong name.

Ornitho has such warnings when a bird is wrong season or very rare species.
So does ebird, on the mobile app it comes with an orange dot (for scarce species) and a red dot (unrecorded). On the web page submission you need to add unrecorded species to the list.

Of course this doesn't stop odd records. That is why there is a review process.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
So does ebird, on the mobile app it comes with an orange dot (for scarce species) and a red dot (unrecorded). On the web page submission you need to add unrecorded species to the list.

Of course this doesn't stop odd records. That is why there is a review process.
Perhaps a new thread needs to be started on the shortcomings of ebird and other listing applications?
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Sorry but I cannot fathom someone being astute enough to find a Common Gull in North America and then being saved from logging it incorrectly by not finding Mew Gull in eBird.

Or perhaps the problem is the proper logging of Common Gull in the old world. In this case, shouldn't we rename Common Gull as well in order to avoid a short term data entry problem? Outmoding every field guide in the paleartic is certainly worth avoid THAT confusion, no? I'm obviously being facetious here but am trying to make a point. Are a few bad entries in eBird (and I have seen these lists too, and I have made wrong entries before, literally just the wrong species of a group of look-a-likes somewhere in the tropics) worth renaming a bird that's in 10's of millions or perhaps 100's of millions of printed field guides?
Given that we have literally had this same argument in another thread, and neither species is likely to be something that an African Bird Nomenclature Group is going to be focused on, lets just drop this thread. I will just leave with a final point that I honestly don't care what Palearctic birders think about a bird that is only a rare vagrant to them, just like I don't think the NACC should have much of a say over the common name of a bird from that region that is only a rare stray to Canada or the USA.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Getting back on track, seems to me that establishing such a committee could be largely irrelevant if the major listing authorities choose not to work with them.

English bird names in common use: a framework to achieve a stable world list despite ongoing taxonomic changes, and a call to establish a broad-based African Bird Names Committee

On the original question, based on the conditions set out in the paper and without meanderings, does the original statement have broad support here or not, split decision?

It would have been better to get a broader readership of the forum to opine because it looks like all the usual contributors in this section to me and of those, I think a good few are proffesional ornithologists so the view may be skewed here?
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
Getting back on track, seems to me that establishing such a committee could be largely irrelevant if the major listing authorities choose not to work with them.

English bird names in common use: a framework to achieve a stable world list despite ongoing taxonomic changes, and a call to establish a broad-based African Bird Names Committee

On the original question, based on the conditions set out in the paper and without meanderings, does the original statement have broad support here or not, split decision?

It would have been better to get a broader readership of the forum to opine because it looks like all the usual contributors in this section to me and of those, I think a good few are proffesional ornithologists so the view may be skewed here?
I would agree with you, the idea to have stable common use names would seem a no-brainer, but I have doubts that the assorted authorities/authors will agree or abide, perhaps with the exception of a Pan-African where the regional players are not so active.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I would agree with you, the idea to have stable common use names would seem a no-brainer, but I have doubts that the assorted authorities/authors will agree or abide, perhaps with the exception of a Pan-African where the regional players are not so active.
So that's 1 in favour.
 

jurek

Well-known member
So does ebird, on the mobile app it comes with an orange dot (for scarce species) and a red dot (unrecorded). On the web page submission you need to add unrecorded species to the list.

Of course this doesn't stop odd records. That is why there is a review process.

It should be possible to let moderators themselves construct warning messages. If a moderator in, say, Oregon, notices that people regularly put, say records of Common Gull instead of Mew Gull, then he himself adds an automatic warning to certain category of records and inputs a text which users will see.

Another option to implement is to automatically convert some sightings.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Perhaps a new thread needs to be started on the shortcomings of ebird and other listing applications?
I think this is a problem that no application of this nature can solve. Your weakest link is always going to be the people submitting info into your public database. Try to limit options too much and you lose data, especially in areas where bird distribution may be not as well known. Have no zero controls, and you potentially cause burn-out amongst your reviewers.
It should be possible to let moderators themselves construct warning messages. If a moderator in, say, Oregon, notices that people regularly put, say records of Common Gull instead of Mew Gull, then he himself adds an automatic warning to certain category of records and inputs a text which users will see.

Another option to implement is to automatically convert some sightings.
For point 1, there are still warnings that get ignored, and I think adding an extra warning wouldn't do much that those original warnings wouldn't.

For point 2, you then have valid vagrants being rejected
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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