Feathered Revolution: US Ornithological Society Renaming Dozens of Birds

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The American Ornithological Society is embarking on a major renaming effort, stripping bird species of human names, including those associated with racist histories.

With an aim to foster inclusivity in bird-watching, the society seeks to refocus on birds themselves, veering away from exclusionary naming conventions developed in the 1800s.

Seventy to 80 bird species are slated for new names that reflect their habitats and traits rather than people's names.

Birds like Wilson's warbler and Wilson's snipe, named after Alexander Wilson, will be renamed.

In 2020, a bird named after Confederate Army general John P McCown was renamed the thick-billed longspur.

The AOS is establishing a committee to oversee the assignment of these new bird names, ensuring diverse representation.

The public will also play a role in this renaming process, making it a collaborative endeavor.

The AOS declares these decisions as pivotal in transforming harmful and exclusionary English bird names.

Earlier this year, the National Audubon Society chose to keep its name despite its namesake's controversial history involving slavery and harmful attitudes.

The society found that its name now represents a universal love for birds, nature, and conservation, transcending its historical ties.

The renaming of bird species signifies a broader societal shift towards inclusivity and recognition of historical wrongs, even in the world of ornithology.