FW: Re: Using proper (bird) names

Eugene Zielinski eez55@earthlink.net
Sun, 23 Dec 2007 20:07:25 PST
No we don't.  Scientific names are for ornithologists.
Because there are relatively few species of birds (compared to plants),
North American birders are able to use standardized English names.  Jim McK
used the term sparrow hawk in a recent e mail.  While perfectly valid, this
name is not the official name; the official name is American Kestrel.  If
you mentioned sparrow hawk, duck hawk, or pigeon hawk to a younger birder,
he may not know what you're talking about.  Mention American Kestrel,
Peregrine Falcon, or Merlin, and he will (or should.)  The American
Ornithologists' Union determines the official North American names.  There
are a few checklists that establish English names for birds worldwide; the
best known and most used is probably Clements.
A few years back, the New World chickadees were split off from the Old
World chickadees.  Originally, both were in the genus Parus; the New World
birds were put into the genus Poecile.  The American birding community
barely noticed.  At about the same time, Oldsquaw was officially changed to
Long-tailed Duck.  This caused a minor ruckus.
Incidentally, I've seen Northern-Beardless Tyrannulets, Masked Boobies,
Golden-winged Warblers, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers -- and more.


Eugene Zielinski
Augusta, GA   USA

 > Message: 10
 > Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2007 11:07:52 -0800
 > From: Diane Whitehead
 > Subject: Re: [pbs] Using proper names
 > To: Pacific Bulb Society <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
 > When I look at bird lists, there are wonderful common names:  Golden  
 > Spangled Whatevers, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets.
 > Do bird watchers ever use scientific names, or is it just us plant  
 > folks?
 > Diane Whitehead

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