North American birds shed their human names

The American Ornithological Society is renaming some 80 species

North American bird species will no longer carry human names. Next year the American Ornithological Society will embark on renaming about 80 species in the U.S. and Canada that carry English names.

“There is power in a name, and some English bird names have associations with the past that continue to be exclusionary and harmful today,” said AOS President Colleen Handel, in a statement. “We need a much more inclusive and engaging scientific process that focuses attention on the unique features and beauty of the birds themselves. Everyone who loves and cares about birds should be able to enjoy and study them freely—and birds need our help now more than ever.”

Three years ago, the AOS renamed a bird that carried the name of Confederate Army Gen. John P. McCown to the thick-billed longspur (Rhynchophanes mccownii).

Read more from the Associated Press.

Header Image: Birds like Audubon’s shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri) will get new names. Credit: steve b via iNaturalist