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Illustrator David Sibley and actor H. Jon Benjamin will face off in the bird illustration battle of the century during BirdNote's Year-end Celebration and Auction!
Lifelong birder Jordan Rutter co-founded the campaign Bird Names for Birds. The goal? To discontinue the use of honorific names and replace them with names that celebrate the unique attributes, behaviors, and biomes of the birds. “There's a way for us to remember and learn the history of ornithology...that can be separate from the actual birds,” Jordan says. “And just let birds be celebrated for birds.”
Bird Names for Birds
Written by Mark Bramhill
Mark Bramhill: This is BirdNote.
There are a lot of birds named after people — just to name a few, there’s Bachman's Sparrow,
[Bachman’s Sparrow ML74001]
[Townsend’s Warbler ML47707]
and Audubon's Oriole.
[Audubon’s Oriole ML12507]
Lifelong birder Jordan Rutter, along with others in the birding community, recently dug into the history of the people behind the many eponymous names, and what they learned is unsettling.
John Bachman was a vehement anti-abolitionist; John Kirk Townsend desecrated the graves of Native Americans; John James Audubon, considered the father of American birding, bought and sold enslaved people.
Jordan Rutter: I honestly feel embarrassed that I have used these names and didn't know their history. They're these verbal statues that are casting shadows on the birds that we all just want to enjoy.
Mark Bramhill: Jordan helped start and organize the campaign "Bird Names for Birds.” Their goal is to discontinue the use of these honorific names and replace them with names that celebrate the unique attributes, behaviors, and biomes of the birds.
Jordan Rutter: It's much easier for new birders especially to remember them. When I say, “What does a Townsend’s Warbler look like?”, you have no idea unless you actually are familiar with that bird.
[Townsend’s Warbler ML47707]
Jordan Rutter: There's a way for us to remember and learn the history of ornithology and what people have contributed to it that can be separate from the actual birds. And just let birds be celebrated for birds.
[Bachman's Sparrow ML74001]
Mark Bramhill: You can read a longer interview with Jordan at our website, BirdNote.org. I’m Mark Bramhill.
Producer: John Kessler
Production Manager: Allison Wilson
Editor: Ashley Ahearn
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by Bachman's Sparrow ML74001 recorded by Geoffrey A. Keller. Townsend’s Warbler ML47707 recorded by Dave Herr. Audubon’s Oriole ML12507 recorded by L. Irby Davis.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2020 BirdNote October 2020 Narrator: Mark Bramhill
ID# names-04-2020-10-08 names-04