Saturday, April 13, 2024
HomemediaProminent bird group to rename avians connected to racism, slavery, 'robbers of...

Prominent bird group to rename avians connected to racism, slavery, ‘robbers of Indigenous graves’

After years of controversy over birds being named after individuals connected to racism and slavery, one of America’s premier bird science and conservation organizations, the American Ornithological Society (AOS), will be abolishing human-related bird names.

“The AOS commits to changing all English-language names of birds within its geographic jurisdiction that are named directly after people (eponyms), along with other names deemed offensive and exclusionary, focusing first on those species that occur primarily within the U.S. or Canada,” the AOS announced on Wednesday about its English Bird Names Project.

AOS President Colleen Handel, Ph.D., declared in a public statement, “There is power in a name, and some English bird names have associations with the past that continue to be exclusionary and harmful today.” She went on to write, “We need a much more inclusive and engaging scientific process that focuses attention on the unique features and beauty of the birds themselves. Everyone who loves and cares about birds should be able to enjoy and study them freely—and birds need our help now more than ever.”

Another high ranking of the organization spoke about the initiative as well.


“They imply possession of a species,” Erica Nol, co-chair of the society’s Ad Hoc Committee on English Bird Names said. “They are overwhelmingly from a particular time and social fabric, they are almost all White men, few women, and women were almost all first names. Our main goal was to increase the birdwatching public.”

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Alexander Hall is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to


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