About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thoughts on the names of birds

Singing wren photo from Wikimedia Commons
Today I was listening to the chickadees, jays, and Chipping Sparrows while walking to Wild Birds Unlimited. It's not hard to guess how all these birds got their names. Some other local Michigan birds that have names that describe the sound they make could include the hummingbirds, crows, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Screech Owls and perhaps the Mourning Doves for their soulful song.

Goldfinches, bluebirds, starlings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, and Red-winged Blackbirds all have names based on their looks. Even the Baltimore Oriole received its name because the male's colors of orange and black were the same as the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore. And of course the cardinal was named by colonists for the male's red crest, reminiscent of a Catholic cardinal's biretta and our Robin Redbreast was named because their reddish breasts reminded early British colonists of the European Robin they left behind.

While woodpeckers and nuthatches have a common name that describes the actions they are found frequently engaging.

And the House Sparrow, House Wren, and House Finch were all named house because of their association with people's homes. These birds all like to nest alongside us and even look to us to help them find food, water, and shelter.

Related Articles:
Facts every backyard birder wants know about Nuthatches http://bit.ly/tBbDbQ

Black-capped chickadee is a bird named after its own call or song https://goo.gl/78Ls58
How the Northern Cardinal bird was named http://bit.ly/syLYbe
Why are they called Blue "Jays"? http://bit.ly/sKHEDK
Why is a Turkey Is Called a Turkey? http://bit.ly/uKNZe5
How birds are classified http://bit.ly/vMmSY8
How birds are named http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-are-birds-named.html

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