The 10 most poorly named birds in North America and how to fix them

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Bird names are often the first clue people use to identify a species.  Are you looking at a hawk with a red tail?  It’s probably a Red-tailed hawk!  Most species names are highly descriptive and tell you exactly what you should be looking for.  However, ornithologists have been known to come up with some truly terrible names.

We have compiled here 10 of the worst bird names in North America and provided suggestions for what can improve these names.  Have suggestions for additions to the list or want to make a list of your own?  We’d love to hear it in the comments! Continue reading

Mistaken Identity – Mystery Bird #1

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Do you ever wonder how explorers and scientists initially described animals when the got home? The answer in most cases is “poorly”. For example, the Giraffe was originally described as a cross between a Camel and Leopard and was drawn by a confused medieval scribe as looking something like this. Somehow, the long neck was completely overlooked. The poor Rhinoceros did not fair any better, as it was drawn as having what appears to be a tentacle coming out of its head. Later on, the rhinoceros was confused with a unicorn.

We decided to recreate this sense of discovery (a favorite topic here) by attempting an experiment. Sean looked for a random bird that Lynn had never heard of and described it for her to draw. Unfortunately, the first bird he chose was one that has almost no pictures taken of it, so what we really ended up with is a bit of a game of telephone where Sean described someone else’s painting of a bird.

So, without further ado, here’s Mystery Bird #1: Continue reading