Ornithologists Call For Allegedly Racist Bird Names To Be Changed – Some names ‘represent colonialism, racism and inequality’

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The Climate Depot:

We’re guessing that transgender names are ok, even applauded. Good news for the Bearded Tit! Shown here

A Tuesday op-ed in The Washington Post by two ornithologists argued that bird names derived from problematic historical figures should be changed.

Gabriel Foley and Jordan Rutter, two ornithologists who started the website “Bird Names for Birds,” maintained that the many bird names that include eponymous references to such people “cast long, dark shadows over our beloved birds and represent colonialism, racism and inequality.”

“It is long overdue that we acknowledge the problem of such names, and it is long overdue that we should change them,” they added.

Foley and Rutter first criticized John James Audubon, after whom several birds were named and whose monumental 19th-century book “The Birds of America” is widely considered one of the most important ornithological works ever written. “Surely, most of us might think, this is an entirely fitting honor for someone who did so much for our understanding of the environment,” they wrote, but reminded readers that even “Audubon’s story has a dark side.”

Pinpointing how he once scoured the battlefield after the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto cutting the heads off of Mexicans to send to a phrenologist, they wrote, “For Audubon, this might have been just another way of practicing science — but his actions hardly align with modern values, and his scientific contributions do not excuse him from judgment.”

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