Living Retired — ‘For the Birds’
Living Retired — ‘For the Birds!’
By Gary Chalk.
You know I don’t make this stuff up.
There is a movement afoot — or is it a-wing? — to rename all the birds in North America that are named after people.
Think about it. As we try to address legitimate issues such as climate change, poverty, and what on earth to do with all that leftover sourdough bread your husband made during Covid, some birdbrain has concluded there are birds flying among us whose names are not politically correct.
I cannot say that a little bird told me about this turn of events. It was Mike Farwell the popular radio host on CityNews 570 who I listen to frequently. Mike couldn’t believe it either, and was chirping something about, “This is for the birds.”
It turns out the flap about renaming the birds has a Canadian connection: a Mount Royal University student whose name is Fisher Stephenson — I sure hope for his sake that Fisher isn’t the short form for the tropical bird the KingFisher? Just saying. Anyway, Fisher made a film about birds and says there are birds all over the world whose names honour people who used to oppress a certain group of people. He also commented that he received backlash from people who felt the name changes were unnecessary. You think?
There are 80 species of birds that must be renamed. For instance, last year the McCown Longspur, which was named for someone who is now deemed a ‘problematic person’ has already been renamed — get ready for this — the thick-billed Longspur. WHOA! Is this not making derogatory remarks about the physical feature of a Longspur?
I asked Jan for her thoughts about changing the names of birds. “Gary, if it makes birdwatchers proud as a peacock that’s fine with me.”
“Funny Jan. But I think you mean to say, ‘proud as a phasianidae,’ which is the proper name of the peacock species.”
“Gary, has anyone ever told you that you’re as crazy as a loon?”
Speaking of crazy, the next thing you know, our politicians here in Canada will get in the act. They will appoint people with time on their hands — members of the Senate — to a blue-ribbon panel called ‘BS (Bird Stupidity.’) The first order of business of BS will be to investigate the person the dodo bird was named after.
CNN even covered the story. I didn’t see it, but I can see Wolf Blitzer with little chickadees nesting in his beard going on for days on end covering this ‘DEVELOPING STORY’ that became ‘BREAKING NEWS’ before being ‘ONGOING NEWS.’ Eventually renaming birds became an albatross around the networks neck when thankfully a ‘WEATHER EVENT’ — television talk for the next ‘DEVELOPING NEWS’ — surfaced. So they instructed their reporters to go where residents were being told to evacuate immediately and stand in the water.
I am sorry about this rant, but renaming birds has really ruffled my feathers.