I really do love birds.

A few years ago, I got really into Hummingbirds. I ended up buying several different feeders, so that I always had a clean one to put fresh nectar in. As you likely know, depending on what type of feeder you buy, cleaning them properly can be kind of a pain. But if you really love little birdies, it doesn't even feel like work.

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

I've even brought birds to Avian Haven a few times because I've found injured or abandoned birds at my house. The Phoebe's always build a nest over the outside light above my garage doors. But soon they won't be. The birds will still be there, but they likely won't be called Phoebe's anymore. Any birds with human names are set to be changed soon, according to NPR.

Several species in Maine will be affected. What's going on?

According to the American Ornithological Society, there are a few reasons. There are tons of birds out there that are loosely named based on their description. Like a Goldfinch for example. You know it's going to be a yellow finch. But what kind of description does the name of a Cooper's Hawk provide? None, obviously.

Photo by Jim Strasma on Unsplash
Photo by Jim Strasma on Unsplash

So here in the states, birds with human sounding names are due to get a new name, that will reflect more of the standard we were just talking about. So maybe a Cooper's Hawk would be named after its colors and markings, as opposed to the person who discovered it.

Why else would they change a bird's name?

In the NPR article, it's discussed how there are also a lot of birds that have potentially racially insensitive names, and other names that have been appropriated from Native American culture. So those names would also be changed. It's all part of a broader scope to make the names more inclusive for all cultures within our country.

Photo by Patrice Bouchard on Unsplash
Photo by Patrice Bouchard on Unsplash

This won't happen all at once. It looks like it will be 70 or 80 species a year they focus on, or roughly 6%-7% of US birds at a time. There are also a lot of pitfalls that will inevitably arise, but it seems to be where this is headed. So get ready to unlearn a bunch of bird names. Or don't. Most people will probably just call them by their old names anyway, right?

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