Good news for the Bearded Tit! Robert W. Lee IV: Robert E. Lee is my ancestor. “It is long overdue that we acknowledge the problem of such names, and it is long overdue that we should change them,” they added. John Bachman, who espoused white supremacy. ]”, “We cannot subjectively decide — especially if the adjudicators are White — that some names can be retained because they are associated with less abhorrent pasts than others. is happening in the bird world when it comes to eponymous and honorific English common bird names — human names placed on birds, either to honor or memorialize someone. A Tuesday op-ed in The Washington Post by two ornithologists argued that bird names derived from problematic historical figures should be changed. Instead, the philosophy, dating back to the 1980s, was that the committee didn’t improve names, otherwise there would be a never-ending process of proposals and name changes that would create instability. Charles Bendire fought in the Battle of Canyon Creek, among other violent attacks on indigenous peoples. According to The CornellLab’s All About Birds page about the species, John James Audubon named the bird for Reverend John Bachman in 1834. I imagine the next step will be wiping out all of the white birds. By rejecting the colonial monument that eponyms represent, we can show that we value inclusion and diversity in our community, and that we acknowledge the intrinsic worth of wildlife. About 150 birds in North America are named for people, including Bachman’s sparrow. 4. The two then go on to list other birds who were named for people they don’t like, such as Bachman’s sparrow, who was named for a pro-slavery reverend; McCown’s longspur, who shares a name with a Confederate general; Hammond’s flycatcher, who was named for a doctor that performed anatomical studies on Native Americans killed in battle; Bendire’s thrasher, named for a U.S. major who fought Native Americans; and Townsend’s warbler, a bird whose namesake dug up Native Americans to study their skulls. 3. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. But most importantly for Rutter, Bird Names For Birds removes a barrier of racist and colonialist language for non-white birders. After the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, when mostly White Texans defeated a Mexican army not far from present-day Houston, Audubon scoured the battlefield for the remains of Mexican soldiers. We could decide right now that the words we use matter, and that birds should carry their own history, not ours. Kara is a lifelong resident of southwestern Pennsylvania, except for her undergraduate years at Sarah Lawrence College. The NACC rejected the initial proposal to rename McCown’s longspur, but Lovette said it was the catalyst for new guidelines announced in October 2019, which include language, like “present-day social standards,” that provides a pathway to changing eponymous bird names on the basis of social justice. Warning, could potentially cause offense. This article was originally posted on Daily Wire. He would also like to see improvements to their website which would allow anyone to comment on the proposals as they are being decided. Foley and Rutter first criticized John James Audubon, after whom several birds were named and whose monumental 19th-century book “The Birds of America” is widely considered one of the most important ornithological works ever written. Suite 500, Troy, Michigan 48084 USA. According to The CornellLab’s All About Birds page about the species, John James Audubon named the bird for Reverend John Bachman in 1834. The bird is named after an amateur ornithologist who later became a Confederate general. “It needs to be all of them.”. I wonder if the clouds stare at us and comment on our shapes. What if everybody looked for things to be offended by? Foley and Rutter conclude by likening such bird names to Confederate statues, writing: The controversy over such names, which is now exciting passions within the bird community, mirrors similar conflicts over monuments to Confederates and colonialists now raging in the United States and elsewhere. He also described an astonishing 25 new bird species, while two other species — Audubon’s shearwater and Audubon’s oriole — bear his name. “There’s been lots of ideas moving forward in terms of using historical names,” Rutter said. A Tuesday op-ed in The Washington Post by two ornithologists argued that bird names derived from problematic historical figures should be changed. Lyme Disease Risk is High in City Parks, Too, Essay: A 70-mile Hike Provides a Refuge from a Stressful Year, EPA Reaches Settlement With Koppers Over W.Va. And Pa. Facilities. Lovette said he can’t predict where the committee will come out on drawing that line, but right now, anyone can propose bird name changes to the committee. We cannot subjectively decide — especially if the adjudicators are White — that some names can be retained because they are associated with less abhorrent pasts than others. She produced "The Allegheny Front Rewind" series, celebrating the show's 20th anniversary, and her work has been heard on The Environment Report, Inside Appalachia and Here & Now. “They’re essentially verbal statues for birds and the bird community, because these mostly white men were part of a really dark time in our history,” said Jordan Rutter, who is helping lead an initiative with co-founder Gabriel Foley and others in the birding community, called Bird Names for Birds. She earned a masters degree in professional writing from Chatham University, and has been a features writer for regional magazines. Eponymous names serve as verbal statues: They are a memorial both to the colonial system that wove the fabric of systemic racism through every aspect of our lives — including the birds we see every day — and to the individuals who intentionally and directly perpetuated that system.

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