Dozens of famous bird species will lose their familiar names in the coming months and years as part of a nationwide effort to eliminate monikers “clouded by racism” and to diversify bird-watching. The American Ornithological Society, which is responsible for standardizing English bird names across the Americas, announced plans Wednesday to ditch any bird classifications derived from a person’s name, instead identifying them by their physical traits or their habitats.Although not all fowl named after people are linked to unsavory histories, the undertaking mainly aims to purge names connected to racism, misogyny and genocide, the AOS said.Birds with names “deemed offensive and exclusionary” will also be rechristened. “As scientists, we work to eliminate bias in science. But there has been historic bias in how birds are named, and who might have a bird named in their honor,” AOS Executive Director and CEO Judith Scarl, Ph.D., said in a statement. “Exclusionary naming conventions developed in the 1800s, clouded by racism and misogyny, don’t work for us today, and the time has come for us to transform this process and redirect the focus to the birds, where it belongs.”The naming purge will likely affect up to 80 different species in the US and Canada, though the process is only in the early stages.The AOS’s decision comes after years of mounting pressure from the bird-watching, or birding, community to revoke the recognition of racist historical figures whose names were bestowed upon the fowl.That means that the Audubon’s shearwater, a seabird native to the southeastern United States, will no longer be linked to John James Audubon, the founder of the eponymous New York City birding community and slave owner who opposed abolition.Audubon’s own organization voted in March to drop its problematic founder’s name, citing his legacy of white supremacy.The organization’s Golden State branch followed suit just one month later.The Audubon’s shearwater’s new name will likely reflect its coastal habitat or its identifiable rounded wings — similar to how the Blue Footed Booby is named for its iconic and unique teal flippers.Some birds have already undergone the change.The Thick-billed Longspur, a small ground-feeding bird native to North America, was renamed in 2020 after nearly three centuries of being named for Captain John P. McCown, a Confederate soldier who is “perceived today by many as a symbol of slavery and racism,” the AOS said.The renaming pilot project will kick off in 2024, with an initial group of between 70 and 80 birds being reclassified in the US and Canada.The initiative will continue for “months and years,” the AOS said, with up to 260 birds due to be reviewed across the Americas and associated islands.
02 Kasım 2023 - 01:55
Dozens of birds with monikers ‘clouded by racism and misogyny’ to be renamed
The naming purge will likely affect up to 80 different species in the US and Canada, though the process is only in the beginning stages.
02 Kasım 2023 - 01:55