On November 1, 2023, the American Ornithological Society spoken that it will transpiration the English worldwide names of birds that are named without people. The AOS will develop a pilot process with a small number of species, then write changes on a rolling time frame, first focusing on 70–80 species that occur primarily in the U.S. and Canada.  

More well-nigh this visualization from the American Ornithological Society:

  • AOS official statement on the decision
  • AOS list of FAQs  

Below, we provide answers to spare questions well-nigh the Cornell Lab’s position and roles in the process.

Q: What does the Cornell Lab of Ornithology think well-nigh waffly the names of birds that are named without people? 

A: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology supports the visualization of the American Ornithological Society to transpiration English bird names that are named without people (eponymous names), and to engage the public in selecting the new names. 

Some eponymous bird names siphon associations with historic injustices. Determining which names to transpiration specimen by specimen would be subjective and intractable. Waffly all eponymous names is a well-spoken standard. It moreover provides an heady opportunity to generate bird names that are increasingly informative well-nigh the birds themselves.  

We recognize that people will have variegated opinions well-nigh these name changes and the challenges of the endeavor. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology stands ready to engage with partners and communities to learn more, to aid a wholesale understanding of these changes, and to bring together the passion of everyone who loves birds to join in triumphal and protecting them. 

Q: Which bird names will be changing? How many names will be affected? What is the AOS’s purview? 

A: The changes are proposed to be rolled out through time rather than all at once, and will uncork with a pilot involving a small number of species. Without that, the first focus will be well-nigh 70–80 birds found primarily in the U.S. and Canada. 

The AOS currently maintains supervisory bird checklists for North, Central, and South America. Beyond the U.S. and Canada within this purview, the AOS will work with ornithological societies in those regions to determine what organizations would be the most towardly stewards of English worldwide names in collaboration with regional communities, in ways that are aligned with their wishes.   

There are 152 eponymous English names on the list of birds unswayable by the AOS North American Classification Committee and 111 unswayable by the South American Classification Committee (in total, well-nigh 5.5% of English bird names that AOS currently oversees). 

Q: When will the name changes roll out? 

A: This timing is still to be determined. The AOS has stated that it will launch a pilot to work out the logistics including a path to involving experts and the public.  

Each year the AOS has updated bird names once during the summer published as a  Supplement to the Check-list of North American Birds. The new process is likely to be on a similar timeline.  

After name changes are published by AOS, these changes will be reflected on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s platforms (e.g., eBird, Merlin, All Well-nigh Birds, and Birds of the World) during the Lab’s yearly taxonomic updates in October. 

Q: How will English names be unauthentic in other parts of the world outside of the American Ornithological Society’s current purview (that is, vastitude North, Central, and South America)?

A: English names in other regions will protract to be unswayable in collaboration with, or by, other entities.  

Q: Who will decide the new names? 

A: The American Ornithological Society has said it will establish a new committee that is envisioned to include individuals whose expertise represents the social sciences, education, arts, communications, ornithology, and taxonomy. Additionally, the AOS has single-minded to urgently involving the public in the process of selecting new names.  See “How long will the process take, and how will it work?”

Q: Will there be a transition period when former names will be shown on the Lab’s platforms? 

A: The Lab anticipates aiding users in learning new names, for example, by including the former names on its platforms during a transition period, where space allows.