A second “guest essay” comes to us from Bob Grump. It’s ironic that Bob’s essay is about stupid names. His own name is, well, let’s just say…hard to buy. That’s okay. Sometimes writers use pen names. We don’t mind. Once again Bob Grump makes good points, as he did in “What the hell is a hectare.” After his essay, we might weigh in with an opinion of our own about what he says here, if you want to read that far. You may not agree with the guy, but he’s interesting…
By Bob Grump
Okay, Mr. Two-Fisted Birdwatcher, I’ve got a suggestion for you and your readers out there.
I think you’ll like it, because I’ve seen that on your website you often grouse about birds having stupid names. No pun intended.
By the way, ever notice how people say “no pun intended?” That’s bullshit. It’s always intended.
So, here’s my idea:
Start a groundswell movement…get your readers to suggest better names for birds. Not all bird names, just the stupid ones.
Come on, two-fisted birdwatchers, does anybody really want to see a Peewee? How about a Hudsonian Godwit. Can you say Hudsonian Godwit with a straight face?
The Indigo Bunting sounds like something in your grandma’s knitting basket. Can you tell your girlfriend you saw a Yellow-Breasted Chat, or a Dickcissel? Dick what?
I think you mentioned these names in your blog. That’s why I bring them up again. I figure you’re gonna support me because you’re already on my side.
I KNOW you recently wrote that a Green Heron isn’t green, and a Great Blue Heron isn’t blue…and a Great Crested Flycatcher isn’t crested. Or great. We’re on the same page, right?
You, and other regular folks who are interested in birds, have been saddled with using stupid names that have been passed down to us from bird namers who were cuckoo.
Hey, that’s another one. Cuckoo. Yellow-billed, Black-billed…the clock.
Okay, what do we do about it?
Trust the people, that’s what I say. They have a way of righting things. Just give ‘em time, and a voice. Ask your readers to pick a bird name that bugs them. Let ‘em write in with their idea for a better name.
Say somebody doesn’t like “Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.” So they suggest another name. Like, for example, “bark hammer.” That’s one I kinda like.
Somebody else (maybe you, right?) says they don’t like “Bald Eagle,” because (as you also pointed out in one of your stories) this eagle ain’t bald. Maybe the person says we should call it a “fierce fish-eater” instead. Personally, I’m not wild about that one. But run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.
So that’s my idea. Have people get caught up in this thing. Let’s see what happens. It’s about time, you know. And it’s something we can do something about.
We can’t do much about the collapse of the economy, military unthinkables, kids squawking in restaurants, new human and computer viruses, all the crap that’s coming down the pike every day…but we can do something about stupid bird names!
Spread the word!
Bob wants us to spread the word. Okay, if you’ve got any bird names that you could improve, let us know. If there’s enough interest, maybe we’ll make a another contest out of it. Like our “hidden bird” contest. And the best name wins a prize. Or maybe we’ll invite everyone to vote for a winner. Might even send winning ideas to the American Ornithologists’ Union and get the bird officially re-named. Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Maybe this will go nowhere. If that happens, all we can say is: Sorry Bob Grump, whoever you are.