Old Bird Names

One subject that has always fascinated me is what people used to call birds back in the “olden” days, like the 1800’s and early 20th century.

My mom has a book from 1934 that was illustrated by Louis Agassiz Fuertes. The drawings and descriptions are very interesting. Louis_Agassiz_Fuertes (artist, 1874-1927),

Three-toed Woodpecker

Sometimes, I think, the old name is better than the new one. One particular one that I like is the “Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker” doesn’t that sound more intriguing than “Black-backed Woodpecker”?, and the “Three-toed Woodpecker” (shown above) used to called “Banded Three-toed Woodpecker”. One name became more descriptive, while the other species name became much less descriptive. (Both species occur in the Crane Lake area)

Another name for the Hairy Woodpecker was Canadian Woodpecker. And Vireos used to be called Greenlets. What fun trivia!

The link here will take you to a website where you can purchase prints by John James Audubon. Take note of all the interesting bird names.



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