FAQ: Modifications to Eponymous Chook Names


A hummingbird with a pink face and green and beige body, hovers in midair.A hummingbird with a pink face and green and beige body, hovers in midair.
Anna’s Hummingbird by Blake Matheson / Macaulay Library.

On November 1, 2023, the American Ornithological Society introduced that it’s going to change the English frequent names of birds which can be named after individuals. The AOS will develop a pilot course of with a small variety of species, then deal with adjustments on a rolling timeframe, first specializing in 70–80 species that happen primarily within the U.S. and Canada.  

Extra about this resolution from the American Ornithological Society:

Beneath, we offer solutions to extra questions concerning the Cornell Lab’s place and roles within the course of.

Q: What does the Cornell Lab of Ornithology take into consideration altering the names of birds which can be named after individuals? 

A: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology helps the choice of the American Ornithological Society to alter English fowl names which can be named after individuals (eponymous names), and to have interaction the general public in deciding on the brand new names. 

Some eponymous fowl names carry associations with historic injustices. Figuring out which names to alter case by case can be subjective and intractable. Altering all eponymous names is a transparent customary. It additionally offers an thrilling alternative to generate fowl names which can be extra informative concerning the birds themselves.  

We acknowledge that individuals can have totally different opinions about these identify adjustments and the challenges of the endeavor. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology stands prepared to have interaction with companions and communities to be taught extra, to assist a broad understanding of those adjustments, and to carry collectively the fervour of everybody who loves birds to hitch in celebrating and defending them. 

A perspective essay written by the Cornell Lab’s director, Ian Owens, explores these concepts additional.

Q: Which fowl names shall be altering? What number of names shall be affected? What’s the AOS’s purview? 

A: The adjustments are proposed to be rolled out via time reasonably than unexpectedly, and can start with a pilot involving a small variety of species. After that, the primary focus shall be about 70–80 birds discovered primarily within the U.S. and Canada. 

The AOS at present maintains authoritative fowl checklists for North, Central, and South America. Past the U.S. and Canada inside this purview, the AOS will work with ornithological societies in these areas to find out what organizations can be probably the most acceptable stewards of English frequent names in collaboration with regional communities, in methods which can be aligned with their needs.   

There are 152 eponymous English names on the record of birds decided by the AOS North American Classification Committee and 111 decided by the South American Classification Committee (in whole, about 5.5% of English fowl names that AOS at present oversees). 

Q: When will the identify adjustments roll out? 

A: This timing continues to be to be decided. The AOS has said that it’s going to launch a pilot to work out the logistics together with a path to involving specialists and the general public.  

Every year the AOS has up to date fowl names as soon as in the course of the summer season printed as a  Complement to the Test-list of North American Birds. The brand new course of is more likely to be on an identical timeline.  

After identify adjustments are printed by AOS, these adjustments shall be mirrored on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s platforms (e.g., eBird, Merlin, All About Birds, and Birds of the World) in the course of the Lab’s annual taxonomic updates in October. 

Q: Who will determine the brand new names? 

A: The American Ornithological Society has stated it can set up a brand new committee that’s envisioned to incorporate people whose experience represents the social sciences, training, arts, communications, ornithology, and taxonomy. Moreover, the AOS has dedicated to actively involving the general public within the course of of choosing new names.  See “How lengthy will the method take, and the way will it work?” on the AOS FAQ web page.

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