To me, changing names is worth it, if it means a more inclusive birding community.”, Many in the birding community also questioned the assertion that renaming the bird was an ineffective way to promote inclusion. At the same time, the NACC decided that derogatory names could be directly challenged and that ‘active engagement in reprehensible events’ might be sufficient grounds to change a bird’s honorific name going forward. The NACC maintains the “Checklist of North American Birds,” an authoritative catalog that is widely used by ornithologists, birders, museum curators, field guide writers, and government officials. It seems people are searching high and low looking for a denaming project. “I was curious who these people fought for, and what exactly they were doing.” When he came upon McCown’s Longspur, he was startled to discover that McCown hadn’t simply fought for the Confederacy, but had commanded armies in defense of slavery and had fought in wars against multiple native tribes. Driver then decided to petition the AOS to formally change the bird's name. Felis catus) as well as a common name (e.g. 'These names are reminders that ornithology has an important history and that we are not independent of that history. In response, the American Ornithological Society has now said that it will consider renaming the McCown Longspur for the second time in just two years. At the same time, the NACC decided that derogatory names could be directly challenged and that 'active engagement in reprehensible events' might be sufficient grounds to change a bird's honorific name going forward. The #BirdNamesForBirds Twitter campaign drew additional attention to honorifics associated with racism and colonialism. In response to this public pressure, on June 30, NACC formally restated their reasoning for rejecting Driver’s petition while announcing they are “preparing a new, more complete proposal to change the name of McCown’s Longspur, one framed against the backdrop of current events.” They also invited new proposals to rename other birds “that frame these issues against current societal norms.”, As for whether the naming committee will revisit all honorifics, that is unlikely to happen. Ornithologists and birders push to officially rename McCown's Longspur due to Confederacy connection, Neymar on Maradona: You will always remain in our memory. He initially argued for keeping the name McCown’s Longspur; otherwise, he wrote, the NACC would have to recall a long list of other problematic names. “This perception feels more important now than it did even six weeks ago, let alone in 2018.”. The contents of this website are copyright © 1990-2020 New Century Foundation. Pumpkin Bird Feeder Makes a Happy Harvest For Birds, To Help Birds This Winter, Go Easy on Fall Yard Work, Learn to Identify Five Owls by Their Calls. Also, people generally didn’t go around shooting small birds unless they were interested in birds and was “collecting them,” the only way then available to study them. http://www.north-slope.org/assets/images/uploads/AMBCC%20survey_Bird%20Names_North%20Slope_Inupiaq.pdf, Covid’s Cassandra: The Rise of Eric Feigl-Ding, A Reality Check on Covid-19 Risks From Air Travel. Enough is enough.”. Today, 142 North American English common bird names are honorifics. “I see now that long-term stability (a stated goal of the NACC) is unlikely to be achieved as long as species are named for people whose moral character will always be evaluated subjectively,” he wrote. Field guides and apps would require rewriting and reprinting; scientific records would need to be cross-checked to keep the old and new names straight. Jews were persecuted for two millennia because their ancestors were supposedly “Christ-killers.” Do you really want to set foot on that road? Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives. The bird was named for army officer McCown in 1851, after he shot a group of larks he saw on a Texas prairie while stationed there. Hannah Thomasy is a freelance science writer splitting time between Toronto and Seattle.