WordPress prompts one to “Add you thoughts here” when reblogging another post. My thoughts are that those tears are still flowing along that trail and we need to remove all honorifics from English common names of North American birds, as we should have done long ago.
As a citizen of Cherokee Nation and a birder for nearly fifty years, I offer these thoughts on the burgeoning discussion to re-name birds that are named after people.
When people say they are used to the current bird names that honor people of the past, that they like their historic or nostalgic value, or that the names don’t mean anything to them other than the bird, I get that. On a typical morning walk from my home in the Pacific Northwest, I tally Steller’s Jay, Hutton’s Vireo, and Bewick’s Wren on my smart phone eBird app without much thought. If you were to say to me “Lewis’s Woodpecker”, only that glorious glossy green and rose woodpecker with the handsome gray collar pops into my mind.
But there is one bird’s name that hits me in the gut, takes my breath away, because it’s personal: Scott’s Oriole.
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