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Poll - Do you agree or disagree with the AOS's recent decision to abandon the use of eponymous bird names? (2 Viewers)

The AOS is proposing to change all English bird names currently named after people. Do you agree?

  • Agree

    Votes: 91 25.5%
  • Disagree

    Votes: 212 59.4%
  • No strong feelings either way.

    Votes: 49 13.7%
  • Don't know, need more information

    Votes: 5 1.4%

  • Total voters
    357
Yes, but very soon there will only be one taxonomy in eBird to deal with, given the IOC/Clements merge that's going on right now.

Someone earlier in this thread (or maybe another one on the same topic? I've lost track) said that they were explicitly told by eBird there will be a period of a few months after the change when both names will appear, then all the old names will be purged permanently.

But presumably only if you use the English (United States) settings. BOU will not change their names. They are dictated by IOC and common British usage.

"English names in other regions will continue to be determined in consultation with partner organizations in those regions. If you use one of eBird's more than 95 regional language variations, you may not notice any change at all." (eBird)

That certainly does not imply any change of English (UK) settings absent a BOU change.

All the best

Paul
 

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eBird has apparently gone on record saying this will not happen, which is bizarre, seeing as it would be very easy to implement and I see no reason they shouldn't do it. After all they literally let you pick your spelling of gray/grey right now.
'My way ot the highway' is the message I take from this and it seems to have the aim of putting this to bed as quickly as they can manage it and shutting down the dissenters. It's an authoritarian decision, removing any choice from the user and it has the distinct whiff of AOS / BN4B, all over it.
 
Yes, but very soon there will only be one taxonomy in eBird to deal with, given the IOC/Clements merge that's going on right now.
I wasn't aware of this and given that the IOC have openly stated that they wil not be removing eponyms, it seems a bit confusing?
 
Any one ever seen the film Supposing they gave a war and nobody came? It seems to me that everybody is enslaved to what ever "they" decide is happening as far as taxonomical changes go. I can understand why people do it if the geneticists discover that x is really y and never really belonged in z in the first place.

I often ask the question am I a bird watcher for the beauty of nature, a lister, or an ornithologist without the qualifications? The answer I get is primarily a bird watcher that enjoys listing and I do try to follow the science.

One thing I am not is a politician. I have to ask the question are the American Ornithological Society (AOS) in it for the science or the politics?
Looking at the conversation, I have to ask if there were ever real scientists on the naming committee, despite qualifications or were they only ever in it for the politics?

May be if we just ignore them they will lose their platform to preach their political corrections from. The danger is they will take this as a condonement of what they are doing. Which leaves us the choice to go with their politically induced science by backing it vocally or just ignoring it, or condemning what they are doing equally as vocally as it is scientifically baseless.

If they accept the fact it has nothing to do with science, we need to ask them if we really want or need a political wing to our science because it reeks of 1950s McCarthyism - Wikipedia. If the Donald gets reelected, what might he say to to that suggestion? Pretty sure he won't want this sort of thing getting is his way of doing politics his way. Boris Johnson refused to allow any science get in his way, when it came to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and his scientific leads, let alone politically correct science.

If the AOS follow the Popular writing | International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), they can't go changing the scientific names, as, and I quote "usually the first name published is valid and the other is disregarded."

Apart from the old obvious "ignore history at you peril" argument, are they claiming that Carl Linnaeus was in any way racist, involved in slavery or should be ignored for any other reason? Or are they saying because he was rich white and male
 
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Seems to me the most effective way to protest would be to boycott e-bird. If enough birders do that (I'm including all those who serve as reviewers and suchlike, without whom the data will quickly become useless) it will die and the committees will be forced to remember where their data comes from - birders - and listen to their voices.

John
 
Seems to me the most effective way to protest would be to boycott e-bird. If enough birders do that (I'm including all those who serve as reviewers and suchlike, without whom the data will quickly become useless) it will die and the committees will be forced to remember where their data comes from - birders - and listen to their voices.

John
The problem is John and I've said this before, that there is a large number of people who like to see their names in print and are virtually, addicted to ebird. I've been shocked on some of the trips I've done, to see the way that some have behaved, they've almost had the shakes until they broadcast their sightings, sprinting from the vehicle to get online and don't ask me to describe their behaviour when there is no internet!
 
The AOS is not some sort of secretive cabal. For people who doubt that the people making these decisions are scientists, you can go ahead and look up their names very easily and check out there publication records. And remember the ad hoc English names committee merely provided a list of suggestions, it was the ruling body, consisting of scientists, who actually approved the measures.

Also comparing the situation with bird names to the McCarthy hearing is extreme hyperbole. No one is losing there job or career over this matter, although some folks might rage-quit, but that is on them. I put odds that folks like Baird and Wilson don't care, because they have been dead a hundred plus years.
 
But presumably only if you use the English (United States) settings. BOU will not change their names. They are dictated by IOC and common British usage.

"English names in other regions will continue to be determined in consultation with partner organizations in those regions. If you use one of eBird's more than 95 regional language variations, you may not notice any change at all." (eBird)

That certainly does not imply any change of English (UK) settings absent a BOU change.

All the best

Paul
This probably doesn't help Raymie though, who isn't a Brit. While he might not want to use the names "Tricolored Phalarope" or "Northern Solitaire", I would also guess he is not interested in "Great Northern Diver" or "Goosander" either.

Also many birds targeted for change (most in fact) wouldn't be on the British list. I think switching between modes doesn't impact the name of a bird if it doesn't appear on that region's checklist. So the BOU list would most likely still have something like, Kinglet Vireo, rather than Hutton's Vireo.
 
This probably doesn't help Raymie though, who isn't a Brit. While he might not want to use the names "Tricolored Phalarope" or "Northern Solitaire", I would also guess he is not interested in "Great Northern Diver" or "Goosander" either.

Also many birds targeted for change (most in fact) wouldn't be on the British list. I think switching between modes doesn't impact the name of a bird if it doesn't appear on that region's checklist. So the BOU list would most likely still have something like, Kinglet Vireo, rather than Hutton's Vireo.

That would be interesting on the Vireo. Of course, such a name would be challenging to visitors as would the transition of their lifelists to unfamiliar names rather than standard English names. Previously, the thrust had been towards harmonisation.

Clearly, that would create a risk of erroneous recording and such decisions independent of input from reviewers may cause some of them consternation.

As holders of the Clement's list, eBird has more responsibility beyond their collaboration with AOS albeit maybe they are happy to sacrifice international aspirations of harmonisation in favour of that collaboration.

As a visitor to a country, you are less likely to have an up to date Field Guide as my friend's Buenos Aires guide shows. 😀

English (IOC) is a setting in the App that will presumably subsist. eBird's approach will of course affect decisions over usage. Decisions regarding exotics have already had effects on the quality of a user's data that will hopefully resolve eventually.

All the best

Paul
 

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I wasn't aware of this and given that the IOC have openly stated that they wil not be removing eponyms, it seems a bit confusing?
The merge concerns only taxonomy and scientific names.

This probably doesn't help Raymie though, who isn't a Brit. While he might not want to use the names "Tricolored Phalarope" or "Northern Solitaire", I would also guess he is not interested in "Great Northern Diver" or "Goosander" either.

Also many birds targeted for change (most in fact) wouldn't be on the British list. I think switching between modes doesn't impact the name of a bird if it doesn't appear on that region's checklist. So the BOU list would most likely still have something like, Kinglet Vireo, rather than Hutton's Vireo.
There's a few British common names I can tolerate, but divers and Goosanders are not something I ever want to see on my checklists. ;)
 
At least until they split Common Merganser!

Interestingly, my naming convention in eBird gives me "Goosander (American)" for my Common Merganser sightings. I suppose that makes sense and does suggest a degree of pragmatism in naming to ensure accuracy of recording. (Our subspecies appears at subspecific level as "Goosander (Eurasian)".

All the best

Paul
 
Interestingly, my naming convention in eBird gives me "Goosander (American)" for my Common Merganser sightings. I suppose that makes sense and does suggest a degree of pragmatism in naming to ensure accuracy of recording. (Our subspecies appears at subspecific level as "Goosander (Eurasian)".

All the best

Paul
The most sensible solution in case a split occurs (I give this a decent probability of happening) would be American Merganser and Goosander
 
As a visitor to a country, you are less likely to have an up to date Field Guide as my friend's Buenos Aires guide shows. 😀
Unless of course you buy one because your current one is decades out of date, or go online to update your old version. Accounting for all the sci/common name changes, adding to that the splits, lumps changes of genera, therefore position in field guide etc, I wonder what would be easier?

Weighing up the number of side notes on ID criteria etc, and in my case, translating the names to a different language to help party members when discussing species, there will always be a great deal of work involved whatever decision is made.

Ultimately I buy an updated version if there are too many changes to fit in the old guide and spend hours adding notes and translation of names. Just another guide to my growing collection. It is still nice to keep the older versions to peruse at my leisure for when I'm wearing slippers and pyjamas on more days than not.

Although I do have and use efield guides which update automatically, or can be if desired, I must admit I do prefer a book in hand than my old mobile phone which I use more for controlling my hearing aids when using my computer than anything else..
 
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The AOS is not some sort of secretive cabal. For people who doubt that the people making these decisions are scientists, you can go ahead and look up their names very easily and check out there publication records. And remember the ad hoc English names committee merely provided a list of suggestions, it was the ruling body, consisting of scientists, who actually approved the measures.

Also comparing the situation with bird names to the McCarthy hearing is extreme hyperbole. No one is losing there job or career over this matter, although some folks might rage-quit, but that is on them. I put odds that folks like Baird and Wilson don't care, because they have been dead a hundred plus years.
It might be hyperbole, but you bit..

That said, people have been sacked or sidelined for a lot less. That is why people are scared to rock the boat. Somebody sitting in acadaemia somewhere needs to publish to stay relevant and conform to local politics to fit in. Sometimes that is evident by the material they do publish and the amount of bs they tolerate.

There is an old addage that goes something like "those that can do, those that can't teach." I suppose some no longer teach, but instead sit in quangos justifying their existence with populist woke political correctness gone wrong... If the cap fits, wear it!
 
If one wants to succeed in academic ornithology, you apply for grants and publish research articles. One doesn't get tenure by arguing online that a bird's name should be changed. If anything, its a hindrance. Committee work for professional organizations is entirely unpaid, and effort invested into this is effort that can't be invested into teaching, grant writing, or research. I am not going to take the bait on cancel culture, as that should be saved for Ruffled feathers, although I will point out I haven't heard a single case of a ornithologist suffering any repercussions beyond a few insults hurled online for disagreeing on the matter of patronyms.
 
A similar (and even more radical) debate apparently goes on among ichthyologists, re. conceivable changes of inappreciative, disapproved Scientific (!?!) names of Fishes.

• Changing Scientific Names on Ethical Grounds: Six Reasons to Say "No", by Christopher Scharpf, ETYFish Project (20 December, 2023) = here.
Abstract
In recent years, biologists have been debating the acceptability and continued use of biological nomina that honor people historically associated with imperialism and colonialism, and/or who advocated sexist, racist or pro-slavery views. Some biologists propose that names deemed offensive or misaligned with contemporary values be retroactively replaced with new ones. Others have proposed the elimination of eponyms altogether, basically arguing that naming an animal after a person demeans the animal. While there is no denying the unfortunate legacies of many nomina, proposals to change existing names based on ethical grounds would disrupt nomenclatural stability, bury taxonomic history, be impractical and costly to implement, and, ultimately, would not benefit science nor conservation. Examples of names (of fishes) are given that demonstrate the disruption and confusion such proposals would bring. An example is also given (again, a fish) that shows how "colonial" and "indigenous" nomina can coexist.
 
The post has moved to a couple of different threads, in the process moderators added to the description- its just a more professional sounding description. I believe originally my description was just the title reworded with two articles linked below.

To address your second point, unsure where anyone is getting the idea that most American birders agree with the AOS's decision... simply browsing twitter will give you the complete opposite impression
Nonbirders were all over Twitter complaining.
 

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