You’re invited to a Community Congress on English Bird Names

The AOS Diversity and Inclusion Committee invites you to a
Community Congress on English Bird Names
16 April 2021 | 2:00–4:00 p.m. EDT

Renewed spotlights on racism in the U.S. have injected greater urgency within the ornithological and birding communities to acknowledge and address racism in birding and ornithology, including in eponyms (species names honoring people). The practice of naming bird species after people has long been debated in ornithology, with current discussions about eponyms sitting at the intersection of taxonomic stability and social justice concerns. In summer 2020, the Bird Names for Birds campaign publicized a call to remove and replace all North American eponyms.

Changing the English common names of species has far-reaching implications for the ornithological and birding communities and all users of bird names. Thus, defining next steps to address this issue requires an initial awareness of the complexities of name changes and an inclusive approach to understanding diverse perspectives. The AOS Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) committee interviewed several individuals and groups of stakeholders within the ornithological and birding communities to listen to their views on eponymous bird names and learn about challenges that could arise when names are changed.

As a next step in this conversation, the D&I Committee is pleased to announce a virtual Community Congress intended to share this discussion with the wider ornithological and birding community to promote an even greater awareness of the complexities of name changes, and to identify areas of consensus for moving forward. We’ll hear the views of stakeholders regarding name changes, the challenges for specific organizations in implementing change, and the opportunities they identify at this moment for our community. The discussion will be moderated by José González of The Avarna Group. All are welcome to attend!

Register for the Community Congress.

Please submit questions for the panelists here.

Sign up for updates regarding English Bird Names.

The AOS Diversity and Inclusion Committee

By registering for this event, participants agree to abide by the AOS Virtual Meeting/Event Code of Conduct. Help us maintain a safe space in which to communicate by reviewing our policy prior to attending this event.


  1. It is quite unfortunate that this event coincides with the joint meeting of the Wilson Ornithological Society and Association of Field Ornithologists with the Northeast Natural History Conference. Many WOS and AFO members who are also AOS members would no doubt want to participate in this discussion but will have already committed to the conference. Is there any chance for rescheduling to a date that would allow more members to attend.

    1. We recognize that the timing of the Community Congress is not ideal, especially due to the conflict with the joint annual meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists and Wilson Ornithological Society at the #NENHC2021, 15–18 April. We did not intend to exclude ornithologists or community members active in our partner societies nor AOS members participating in the NENHC on 16 April; we reached out to the conference organizers to explain the scheduling overlap and the reasons for it. However, we acknowledge that the scheduling of the Congress came across as insensitive to the efforts of our fellow ornithological societies, and we apologize for not acknowledging the conflict at the time of announcing the Community Congress. We hope that attendees of the AFO/WOS/NENHC meeting will view the recording of the Community Congress and join the ongoing discussions regarding English bird names.

  2. What’s apalling is the omission of of ableism in birding.


    A seat at the table for what DEI is needed is inclusion
    Looks like birders with disabilities have neither equity nor inclusion. #AbleismIsReal

    1. The video recording will be available soon. We will post to our YouTube channel and provide a link to it on this blog. Thank you!

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