So You Think You Know Your Bird Names
I love complicated and ridiculous bird names — Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, and Flammulated Owl are a few of my favorites.
But when I am reading very old bird books, I sometimes come across names I’m not familiar with — grass finch, summer bird, poke. Sometimes these old names are much more evocative of the species’ appearance or behavior than the names we use now, and a lot of them are easier to remember, if you ask me. The guy who raises hay on our place calls Mississippi Kites, blue hawks — that is a nice concise name and I like knowing it.
I have recently come across a great resource for these old names, but before I share it, let’s take a little quiz, shall we?
Match the old name in Column 1 with the current name in Column 2. There are even photos to assist you! (Although on two species, the photo does not show the actual bird named, but a very close species. Extra points if you can figure out which two and tell me in the comments.)
| Column 2
photo and current common name
|3||Bouchard’s summer finch||C|
Here is an example that is not part of the quiz.The names in the quiz come from a US Fish & Wildlife Service Report from 1988, Obsolete English Names of North American Birds and Their Modern Equivalent, here in its entirety. Being that it was a government publication, it is in the public domain.
Unfortunately the report does not explain the old names or give the sources for most of the names, so we will just have to take author Richard C. Banks’ word for them.
My next post will give the answers!