Not much going on, but ...

To: Canberrabirds <>
Subject: Not much going on, but ...
From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2022 01:10:10 +0000

All relevant comments.  The case for change is outlined in the attached article.  A mistake in it, as made by others as well, is that ‘King’ (as in King-Parrot) and ‘Regent’ are said to be references to ‘colonial power structures’.  They are in a way, but not in the sense intended.   The persons commemorated were Governor King and the Prince Regent (see Fraser & Gray).  Therefore, if the inquiry is into the suitability of particular people,  you would need to look into the reputation of Governor King and the Prince Regent (later George VI).


A point made in discussions on this is that something of a generational divide is appearing, with older people being more attached to established names. However if the case for change is really so compelling a great many names for different things would have to be changed, as Don points out.  Should ALL person-based names be eliminated.   Why just birds?


From: <>
Sent: Thursday, 22 December 2022 9:20 AM
To: 'Geoffrey Dabb' <>; 'Canberrabirds' <>
Subject: RE: Spam:*********, [Canberrabirds] Not much going on, but ...


Names DO matter, but not just birds, surely? What about e.g. Banksias? And those of us mammals called Mitchell, Horsfield, etc, should also have our names changed.


Excellent contribution thank you Geoffrey.  It should provoke some interesting discussion.  Happy Christmas time everyone.


From: Canberrabirds <> On Behalf Of Geoffrey Dabb
Sent: Thursday, 22 December 2022 8:17 AM
To: Canberrabirds <>
Subject: Spam:*********, [Canberrabirds] Not much going on, but ...


I notice that this chatline is going through one of its quieter periods.  Here is some news, then. There is a debate going on within Birdlife Australia about whether to eliminate all personal bird names, that is English bird names that refer to people.  Example are Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo and Australia King-Parrot.  The reason is that people see  a strong case to change some names, like the Major’s cockatoo, but no easy way to decide whether other names recalling Australia’s colonial past should remain or go.  There is a similar debate going on in North America.  This is not an easy matter to resolve, as there are so many opinions out there.  More will be heard about this, I’m sure.


To offer a little graphic relief, I have the below observation from last week, from the backyard.




I’m pretty sure ‘Rainbow Lorikeet’ is not a personal name, but, as there is a strong generational flavour in all this, anyone with a 1980s childhood might see the Rainbow Brite connection.




Attachment: Garnett et al 2022 common names for birds and societal change.pdf
Description: Garnett et al 2022 common names for birds and societal change.pdf

Attachment: ATT00001.txt
Description: ATT00001.txt

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the Canberra Ornithologists Group mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the list contact David McDonald, list manager, phone (02) 6231 8904 or email . If you can not contact David McDonald e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU