That is not listening, learning, and making sure that the BIPOC community members have been listened to, learned [from], and respected. It urges the American Ornithological Society to commit to "address the issue of eponymous honors and other potentially derogatory, oppressive, or simply irrelevant holdovers in English common names". The American Ornithological Society’s North American Classification Committee recently responded to community concern about McCown’s Longspur by renaming it the Thick-billed Longspur. [4] In 2018, Robert Driver, a graduate student at East Carolina University, filed a proposal to the NACC, requesting that they change the English common name used for McCown's longspur, named after Confederate general John Porter McCown. The names of some birds — such as the Spruce Grouse, Bald Eagle, and Long-billed Curlew — offer distinctive information about the bird or its habitat. They must be changed", "Creating a More Just, Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive Bird Community", "McCown's Longspur renamed Thick-billed Longspur", "What's in a name? And it's now called Thick-billed Longspur. And so teasing apart that good from the rest of his actions, which included decapitating [fallen] Mexican soldiers for scientific studies, is something that I think we just have to realize. And this really esteemed physician more or less asked soldiers to kill, or somehow collect [the bodies of] indigenous people for him to study. Jordan Rutter: Exactly. And that's something which really is how these birds kind of get defined to a lot of people. In a press release, the agency said that Eskimo is "widely viewed as a colonial term with a racist history, imposed on the Indigenous people of Arctic regions." And the reason why I focus on that is because, when you think about it, this is much bigger than just a scientific concern or a niche issue. Why are you focusing on only the good bird contributions of all of these people and not the rest of them? Mark Bramhill: What has the response been like in the scientific and birding communities? And you can't just write a proposal and say that we want these bird names changed because I said so, right? No bird has ever had their name changed for a social justice cause before. We could skip ahead a few steps. It won’t even end all of the EDI problems within the bird community. So that's another huge concern that folks have raised for sure. But what about Bachman’s Sparrow, Bonaparte’s Gull, or Swainson’s Thrush? And we should own the fact that we have this horrible past and we need to deal with it. [6], On June 22, 2020, the Bird Names for Birds campaign was launched through a letter to the American Ornithological Society, penned by ornithologists Gabriel Foley and Jordan Rutter, and co-signed by 180 other individuals. The English common bird names apply to folks that aren't “bird people,” right? And so, get involved with the conversation. But, yeah. Right now there's no BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and People of Color] community member that has been truly listened to in regards to what the bird names should be or how the system should be set up. Jordan Rutter: Yeah. Listen to BirdNote shows about the birds mentioned above: Birds connect us with the joy and wonder of nature. And there is a movement to change those names — not only to celebrate the unique qualities of the birds, but to address the problematic histories behind some of the names. What kind of reception have y'all received for this initiative? Medical eponyms associated with Nazi human experimentation or Nazi politics have long fallen out of favor or have been selectively deprecated by the medical community. Folks like Townsend and Bachman, these men that do not uphold the morals or standards that we would have today. [19], protests following the killing of George Floyd, lists of eponyms honoring Nazis and their collaborators, "Checklist of North and Middle American Birds", "FORTY-SECOND SUPPLEMENT TO THE AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION CHECK-LIST OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS", "A bird named for a Confederate general sparks calls for change", "A Bird Named for a Confederate General Sparks Calls for Change", "Ornithologists call for 'birds named after racists' to be changed", "The stench of colonialism mars these bird names. You don't have to be a “bird person” to be speaking up on this issue. Since 2007, the Israel Medical Association Journal[13] and European Neurology[14] have maintained lists of eponyms honoring Nazis and their collaborators. This truly is a community issue and all people involved should be included. How are you supposed to be okay with [that]? The petition timed out on August 15th and we had over 2,500 people sign the petition. The current structure right now is entirely proposal based. And I personally think that once you read these, it should make you wonder why we didn't address this sooner. There's a group of us working on them and honestly, I read some of these biographies and I just want to get as far away as possible. And so a group of us said: this is something that we can do right now, today. [18] In August 2020, NASA announced the decision to deprecate widely used nicknames for a number of astronomical objects, stating that "they are not only insensitive, but can be actively harmful." Jordan Rutter: Oh my goodness, yes. It truly, again, comes back to willpower and the fact that we need to make sure we're all encompassing. The campaign was launched in June 2020 with a public petition. And it's highlighting so many important conversations that we need to be having which makes me feel very motivated to keep working on this and show that this is connected to other issues, both in the bird community and at large. Jordan Rutter: It's a really good question; not all eponymous names are after men. Jordan Rutter: Yeah, and you could say “well people don't know the history of those names,” or “they should just accept the names and move on.” But there are these verbal statues that are casting shadows on the birds that we all just want to enjoy. Because, as we mentioned, birds are everywhere and their names are heard and seen by everyone. And a lot of the reasonings against the change from the ruling committee statement include things such as: we can't compare the time that McCown was living in with now, things are just being raised because of modern concerns for social justice, views of appropriate behavior and standards change over time — a lot of resistance to simply recognizing that this is an opportunity to make a positive change. What would you say to someone who feels that way? [3] This latter proposal was accepted, but the comments on the decision by NACC stated that considerations of "political correctness" alone were not enough to merit a name change. Bird Names for Birds is a campaign to abandon eponyms in taxonomy and honorific common names for birds in an effort to support equity, diversity and inclusion in the American birding community. Crane: Crane is the name for the genus of large birds with long necks and legs. Hypothetically, say everything went that fast. The name you choose for your pet bird can reflect its unique qualities, and for that reason, it's important to take care in the naming of your bird. Especially because these proposals have to be researched and have supporting arguments. This bird though, had a proposal submitted a few years ago by Robert Driver and it was rejected. The decision established that planetary nebula NGC 2392, historically known as the "Eskimo Nebula", among other astronomical objects, should be uniquely referred to by their catalog numbers. Daffy (“Loony Tunes”) Zazu (“The Lion King”) I have 2 names for a pair of budgies 'Lil and Cutie! [5], In 2020, following weeks of widespread "Black Lives Matter" protests following the killing of George Floyd and calls for racial justice in the United States, Confederate monuments and memorials were toppled by protesters or removed by city officials across the country. And those stories are never told. [17], The 2020 protests against racism further encouraged academic institutions and scholarly societies to remove potentially offensive references from journal names or academic prizes. Mark Bramhill: Another question I have then: for someone who does really look up to John James Audubon for the contributions he did make to the study of birds, or, some other person who one of these birds is named after, and still wants to be able to celebrate them. And it's very frustrating because this is just the tip of the iceberg. The American Ornithological Society (AOS) maintains a checklist of birds of North America, and claims responsibility for arbitrating the official common names of birds occurring in this area.

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