October 21, 2008

Who Names Birds?

I was just reading an article in The Washington Post about a bird, the bar-tailed godwit, that migrated nonstop from Alaska to New Zealand. It is a fascinating story...

But I got distracted.

What kind of a name is 'godwit'?

Definitely not a 'Merican name. If an American had named it, it would have been a "Curved-nosed asskicker" or something like that.

Obviously, there have been some sane, normal ornithologists. Blackbird. Red-winged blackbird. Bluebird. Raven. Stellar's jay. Here's a name that was obviously inspired in Arkansas: red-necked grebe.

And then there's "Yellow-bellied sapsucker"

Here's the test: get a bird book. Go to a manly bar, and dare someone to open to any page, and read the names of the birds aloud.

See if you don't get your nose curved and ass kicked!

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