Re 'English Australian bird names'

Subject: Re 'English Australian bird names'
From: Katrina Knight <>
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 19:28:58 -0500
At 07:00 PM 11/19/2009 Carl Clifford wrote:
I think you would find it difficult to convince an American birder that a Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike is a Blue-Jay

I'm certainly not convinced. :-) For one thing, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes are not blue, at least the ones I saw weren't.

It seems to me that the purpose of having standardized names is to communicate with each other. Calling totally different birds by the same name works fine on a local level where everyone is sure of which species you mean, but it is increasingly problematic on a bigger level. Thirty-some years ago when I started birding, I never came into contact with birders outside my little local area. Now I regularly communicate with people on the far side of the world. I think it is good for each species to have a unique standard name that we can all use to communicate on a larger level but I see nothing wrong with also referring to birds by other names on a more personal level. The way I talk to my birding pals at home differs from the way I talk to a larger group of people I don't necessarily know in a variety of ways. Different situations call for different standards of communicating. I find that many older names are more interesting and descriptive than the standard names. In North America, the people who assign names have been way too fond of "Eastern", "Northern" and "American", none of which tell me much about the bird in question or sound pleasing. "Jabiru" is a more satisfying name than "Black-necked Stork" but to me, it doesn't mean the bird in Australia. Whatever you call it, seeing one was very satisfying for me. I'd love to have an opportunity to see more of them.

Katrina Knight

Reading, PA, USA


To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message: unsubscribe (in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<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 birding-aus 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 archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU