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FAQ: Modifications to Eponymous Hen Names

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 might be named after folks. The AOS will develop a pilot course of with a small variety of species, then tackle modifications on a rolling timeframe, first specializing in 70–80 species that happen primarily within the U.S. and Canada.  

Extra about this determination from the American Ornithological Society:

Beneath, we offer solutions to further questions in regards to 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 might be named after folks? 

A: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology helps the choice of the American Ornithological Society to alter English hen names which might be named after folks (eponymous names), and to interact the general public in choosing the brand new names. 

Some eponymous hen 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 normal. It additionally supplies an thrilling alternative to generate hen names which might be extra informative in regards to the birds themselves.  

We acknowledge that individuals may have totally different opinions about these identify modifications and the challenges of the endeavor. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology stands prepared to interact with companions and communities to study extra, to help a broad understanding of those modifications, and to deliver collectively the fervour of everybody who loves birds to affix in celebrating and defending them. 

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

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

A: The modifications are proposed to be rolled out via time relatively than all of sudden, 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 presently maintains authoritative hen 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 applicable stewards of English frequent names in collaboration with regional communities, in methods which might be aligned with their needs.   

There are 152 eponymous English names on the checklist of birds decided by the AOS North American Classification Committee and 111 decided by the South American Classification Committee (in complete, about 5.5% of English hen names that AOS presently oversees). 

Q: When will the identify modifications roll out? 

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

Annually the AOS has up to date hen names as soon as through the summer time printed as a  Complement to the Examine-list of North American Birds. The brand new course of is more likely to be on an analogous timeline.  

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

Q: Who will determine the brand new names? 

A: The American Ornithological Society has mentioned it is going to 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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