What kind of reception have y'all received for this initiative? Mark Bramhill: And not including the time to write a proposal is very optimistic! And it's uncomfortable and it's hard, and it has taken us doing a lot of research to learn these things. And this really esteemed physician more or less asked soldiers to kill, or somehow collect [the bodies of] indigenous people for him to study. Why not just people who did something notably abhorrent or some sort of dividing line? And it was turned into a public petition to make it a little bit more broader and truly community oriented; that way anyone that wanted to join this initiative could join us. Jordan Rutter: I think what we need to start doing is not ignoring the whole picture of our history. And it's very frustrating because this is just the tip of the iceberg. The campaign was launched in June 2020 with a public petition. Jordan Rutter: Bird Names for Birds is an initiative focused on the English common names of birds. And I think Audubon has a pretty complicated aspect. The committee that is in charge of bird names could say, if they wanted to, “we're changing these bird names, send us proposals.” Right? We have to make more effort to truly tell the whole story. And so why only focus on that one individual, when there are so many others to be recognized and celebrated as well? [10], On July 8, 2020, AOS president Kathy Martin announced that the society's leadership was developing "new society-level policies in our nomenclature", and that next steps would be formally announced during the 2020 edition of the society's annual conference. Instead of focusing on that bird, now all I can think about is this person and the awful things that he was involved with. So obviously it takes time to do research and create the different biographies of the individuals that are represented by these eponymous names. Jordan Rutter: Bird Names for Birds is an initiative focused on the English common names of birds. This website was really helpful how do you get so many names? Let's make sure that the names are stable and consistent.” Other arguments include things like “we're going to be erasing history, forgetting history, not teaching it.” There's a lot of resistance to change and none of the opposing arguments yet have been showing understanding of the equity, diversity and inclusion components to this entire issue. And those stories are never told. It is one problem that the bird community can be self-aware of, acknowledge, and rectify. We're not focusing on the scientific names or anything that's part of the ornithology research aspect of birds. So that's another huge concern that folks have raised for sure. And you can't just write a proposal and say that we want these bird names changed because I said so, right? I really like that phrase, verbal statue, I feel like that really captures that these eponymous names are upholding and to some degree celebrating these people, in a way that it's pretty easy to not be conscious of if you don't do that kind of deeper questioning. And to think that we are honoring them instead of honoring the birds is just — it's mind boggling. Why all eponymous names? And so they’re names that anyone could come across. Birds named for 19th century white men include (clockwise from upper left) Bachman’s Sparrow, Audubon’s Oriole, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Townsend’s Solitaire, Cooper’s Hawk, and McCown’s Longspur. Because birds are everywhere! Daffy (“Loony Tunes”) Zazu (“The Lion King”) Ornithologists since 2018 have been trying to rid the bird's name of the ... name of the bird," reads a renewed 2019 petition from the AOS ... solved,'" Alex Holt of Bird Names for Birds said. [9], On July 24, 2020, a second proposal to change the McCown's longspur's name was submitted to NACC by Robert Driver and by NACC chair and Smithsonian researcher Terry Chesser, after consulting with the AOS Diversity and Inclusion Committee. And again, we're not just doing this initiative because we're trying to be difficult. Can you tell me what the initiative is all about? Bird Names for Birds is a campaign to abandon eponyms in taxonomy and honorific common names for birds in an effort to support equity, diversity and inclusion in the American birding community.