What is in a name?

To: "'Peter Shute'" <>, "'Tim Dolby'" <>, <>, "'Philip Veerman'" <>
Subject: What is in a name?
From: "Terry Reis" <>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2007 10:10:22 +1000
By memory, wind f**kers is listed in the Oxford Dictionary to British Bird
Names (as mentioned previously in this stream). The book is at home so I
can't check but I think it provides an ample description of the derivation.

It is a name I once corrupted for use instead of kestrel (nankeen that is)
among some of the more crass of my birding friends (actually that's all of
them) some time ago as a rebellion against the conservatism among common
names for Australian birds. 

I'm always happy to rant at great length about how much I hate the use of
words such as magpie, robin and wren for birds not remotely related to the
original bearers of such names. I won't even begin to describe how I loath
shrike-thrush and shrike-tit etc. 

I'm too busy today to venture down this path once more and hence you will
all be spared my bile. Count your blessings.

Terry Reis

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Peter Shute
Sent: Thursday, 26 July 2007 9:30 AM
To: Tim Dolby; ; Philip Veerman
Cc: Birding-Aus
Subject: What is in a name?

 wrote on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 6:02

> I actually still use the name Little Falcon, which I think I
> prefer, despite the bird being officially known as an
> Australian Hobby for most of my life. This stems from when I
> birded with my dad as a kid. (In preference I may start using
> the Latin name, Falco longipennis.)

No, no, don't do that, you'll frighten people!  I just remembered I once
read that kestrels were called "wind f***ers" several hundred years ago,
meaning "wind beater", but this usage obviously died out as the f word
became obscene.  Not that many referrences to this on the web, which
makes me suspect that perhaps this is an urban myth.  The Wikipedia
people seem suspicious too:
But I did find this reference to it:

Has anyone else heard of this?  I assumed it was true when I read it
(not on the internet, maybe in a newspaper), but I'm wondering now if
it's one of those myths that people just perpetuate by repeating without
checking, with the result that it becomes "common knowledge".

Peter Shute

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