Ornithologists consider changing ‘confederate’ name of bird



At their annual conference that is being held in Anchorage this week, the American Ornithological Society considered whether to change the name of the McCown’s Longspur. The bird was originally named for a U.S. Army officer who joined and fought for the Confederate Army.

The name change had been proposed for consideration to the Classification Committee; the motion did not carry during the proceedings, which had several other reclassification items on the agenda. The meeting runs through June 28.

The author of the proposal, Robert Driver, argued that McCown owned slaves, fought against American Indians, and fought for the wrong side during the Civil War. He further contended that McCown name is in conflict with the society’s efforts toward inclusion and diversity.

“With the United States general public increasingly embracing our diversity and confronting public displays of the Confederacy, such as flying Confederate flags, using Confederate general street names, and maintaining statues to Confederate soldiers, it is appropriate for the AOS to address its own piece of Confederate history, John P. McCown of McCown’s Longspur. The AOS once again has an opportunity to pioneer inclusion and lead the way by changing this English name,” Driver wrote. He suggested the bird be given a Native name, but said his efforts to find one failed.

[Read Driver’s Proposal here – Page 49.]



  1. It’s all about inclusion, unless 150 years ago you lost the war or owned slaves and a bird bore your name. Then you are no longer included…because… inclusion and diversity.

    • Should look into whether or not the AOS receives federal funding. If so it should be cut. Their job is studying birds not politics. Once they enter that arena they should be refunded. If the AOS can’t remember it’s place it should be reminded of it.

  2. Racism awareness is a mental illness that has infected our society from top to bottom. And now this……a frigging bird. Every time Driver sees this bird, he will only think about plantation slaves in America in 1850? Sad.

  3. “fought for the wrong side during the Civil War.” Not every Southerner owned slaves. Some refer to the Civil War as The War of Yankee Aggression. The Civil War was not just about slaves just as the Revolutionary War was not just about taxes.

    • The Civil War was only because of slavery. Historical documents point that out. I do not care about a dumb bird. I do care about Lost Cause lies.

      • No, it wasn’t “only because of slavery.” And what historical documents are you pointing out that “proves” this? Slavery was causing serious issues between the north (who wanted to get rid of it) and the south (who wanted to keep it). The divide was so strong that the south was starting to create their own nation, away from the US, and even has their own president. Lincoln was concerned about splitting the country into two new and different countries, not the actual slavery. Slavery was a side-issue for him. Lincoln didn’t want America to be split in half. There’s tons of great books, articles, even movies and documentaries about this (too many to site here but you can start perusing PBS’s documentaries), and none of them say the Civil War was ONLY because of slavery. So please cite your source.
        BTW, many southerners who didn’t like slavery still supported their new president and the their army because they didn’t like anyone else trying to tell them what they could or could not do. Lots of northerners fought and died didn’t care about slavery at all. They were just doing what they were mandated to do.

        • You are missing the point. The war happened because of secession, which did indeed come about because of the rift over slavery, especially its expansion. Does it matter that the large majority of those supporting the war in the North did so for Union, not slavery? This point is so often missed. The South seceded and started the war because of slavery. Slavery therefore was the primary cause. There were indeed abolitionists in the North who were all too glad to fight over slavery though; they were just a minority.

      • Hidden Northern History.
        Jim Crow was a northern born law in Boston in 1838.
        Transatlantic slave importing was a exclusively northern business up to 1858 although illegal. Bribes were paid to ignore or officials just looked the other way. All slave ships from the US flew the American flag. Some were used in northern shops/factories but most were sold to the south in order to rapidly expand agriculture for lower raw goods prices and thus higher profits for northern manufacturers. The slave trade profits to slave trade investors built the Ivy League colleges by donations. The Brown U library was built entirely on slave trade profit donations. They admit that. The Brown bros were just one of many elite NE families whose wealth was built investing in the slave trade. Faneuil Hall in Boston had slave auctions in front. That family became wealthy on the slave trade as did other recognizable names. http://slavenorth.com/profits.htm Why don’t you know? Because the NE Elites wanted it that way. Senator Daniel Webster wrote/gave speeches protecting his friends by extoling “Yankee Virtures” while demonizing the south for using the slaves they imported and sold to the south. What a con game! Read “Disowning Slavery” by Melish a northern Ivy Historian who honestly sought the truth and whose eyes were opened by it. She ran into resistance in getting the records even today. The CW was about southern port taxes to feed the Federal coffers at up to %80 of all Federal income but very little was sent back to the south. Southern taxes built the northern infrastructure. Almost %50 on imported goods after the passage of the Morril Tariff. This could never be overridden because of representation by population and because a northern politician initiated the 3/5th’s compromise (the south wanted slaves to be counted as a full person) the south could never beat the northern vote on any issue. They were backed into a no win corner and want to peacefully withdraw from the voluntary confederation. (See The Articles of Confereration) Lincoln would not give up that unbalanced income or spread it out to all ports or lower it. The CW was an economic takeover of the south employing civilian warfare and some Generals wrote in their letters they feared being tried for war crimes on civilians mostly the left behind elderly, women and children. Look what the Union Army did to slaves and the Native Americans during and after the CW. I could go on with much more! Seek the truth which is almost always hidden. https://blackmainstreet.net/never-forget-devils-punchbowl-20000-freed-slaves-died-forced-post-slavery-concentration-camp/
        and https://www.lewrockwell.com/2003/02/thomas-dilorenzo/what-lincolns-army-did-to-the-indians/
        Take your uniformed false righteousness elsewhere.

        • Go ahead on Dee tell the truth ,they been lied to so much they don’t know the truth, they just know what they want to believe thanks to all these racist northern reporters

        • Thankyou, dee, very knowledgably answer. I believe the South needs to fly their flag with pride, and the bird can keep its name, and our memorials and streets are left alone. There are no black slaves anymore. Most blacks are working and living well. Much better than those whose ancestors stayed where they were. They can be whatever they pursue here in America. God bless us all.

      • The Corwin Amendment and Lincoln’s first inaugural address makes a lie out of “Righteous Cause” myth. Colonization report of July 16, 1862, issued by US Congressional Joint Sub-committee, makes a lie out of Black Suffrage motives of GOP. The North invaded for cotton to facilitate it’s #1 revenue source, textiles, and for tariffs on England to increase North’s share of international textiles markets, not to do Blacks any favors. One million Freedmen starved to death before 1870 under Union Army control of the South, so go Virtue Signal elsewhere.

      • William,
        The “civil war” not caused by slavery, it was caused by Invasion period. It is really simple, No Invasion, No war. As President Jefferson Davis said, “All we ask is to be left alone.”

      • Did you know there was a large number of free blacks who owned slaves. But some how we forget and never mentioned that. Blacks in the South and North both owned slaves. Oh another jaw dropper…between 80,000 to 100,000 thousand blacks fought with the boys in grey. A large number were free black men also.

        • 80,000 to 100,000? Are you insane? To be honest, I thought changing the bird name was stupid, but I am beginning to realize that maybe it should be just because of all the delusional rebels on this post. My ancestors fought for the South. I don”t know why they joined, but I sure as heck am smart enough to know why the war happened.

          • I am from West Virginia, and am glad that all my ancestors but one remained loyal to the Union. The one who didn’t joined the Confederacy because one day while standing on his porch, the Yankees came over the hill and burned his barn down.

      • No it was not only about slavery. Lincoln never said it was, he said it was to collect tariffs on Southern goods. Also read the Corwin Amendment which would have allowed the seceded States to forever maintain slavery if they would return to the union. The state’s rejected it because it did not address the excessive tariffs.

      • Agreed. Lost cause proponents do not realize that they only make it more apparent why some correction is needed toward a true understanding of history. They hurt their own cause just as slavery proponents hurt their own by starting a war. Renaming a bird over it is ridiculous though, as are many of the over-corrections we see in many instances.

        • Read the declaration of secession for confederate states. Take the word of the drafters over the intentional effort to ignore what is clearly stated.

          • Read the declaration of secession for confederate states. Take the word of the drafters over the intentional effort to ignore what is clearly stated. True that Lincoln was willing to continue slavery for a limited period in a limited area. Southern politicians insisted on unlimited expansion.

      • Wrong. The War Between The States was fought over the basic question of state’s rights. Lincoln threw the slavery issue into the political pot only because of recruiting problems in the North. People in the North (I was born and raised there) are never taught about the slaves living and working north of the Mason-Dixon line (even during the war) and slaves were not as economical for Northern small farm owners as they were for large Southern plantation owners. Economics made slavery less palatable for the North, and the North’s larger population gave it the governmental power to try to force policy on the South – hence a fight over state’s rights. Slavery is an unsavory stain on all human history, no argument there, but let’s get our facts straight.

        • None of that changes the fact that differences over slavery, regardless of racism in the North, caused secession, which caused the war. Slavery was the root cause.

      • What historical documents say that it was because of slavery? Do you have proof of any historical documentation of this being the reason for the war?, show me!
        Because I can provide historical documentation to the contrary!

      • Which historical documents? Lincoln’s first inaugural address specifically says he doesn’t want to abolish slavery and Davis’ doesn’t mention it at all. The Corwin amendment completely failed to bring southern states back into the union while Lincoln’s illegal invasion brought the Confederacy from 7 to 11 states.

      • Sir, you really need to read more. Please stop relying on CNN and MSNBC for your viewpoints. Slavery was not even an issue in the Civil War until about midway through it. The North was losing and the Northern people were getting tired of losing their loved ones. Lincoln brought in slavery to give the war a “moral issue”. Here is a quote from the Lincoln himself…. “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, “Letter to Horace Greeley” (August 22, 1862), p. 388.

      • The Civil War was about States Rights not slavery. Because our educational system is ran by liberals they do not want you to embrace your country’s history but act as if it did not happen. So sad that our country is rasing a bunch of followers not leaders. STUDY your history and get an education. Not all history is good. There are always some dark times.

      • You sir are ignorant. Please look up the Corwin Amendment. Then while your at it… try remembering that you dont have to fight for what’s already legal……

  4. This is just silly. To judge a man because he was a Confederate is just sad. JFK / Martin Luther King were adulterers. Ghandi was an abusive husband. Humans are a mixture of good and evil. Complicated creatures. None of us knew McCowan’s heart and I am sure the bird doesn’t care one bit.

    • The slaves he owned knew his heart. How would you like someone selling your kids? Raping you?

    • Exactly! The people complaining only know what they were told and in the last 10 years taught to think about things instead of using logical, reasoning thoughts and research! They question nothing and are made to feel that attacking others and objects makes them a warrior for justice but it just makes them a foolish minion for politicians and socialists. They have not learned or exhibited mutual respect just self righteous blathering to feel important in a depersonalized society.

  5. It is said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes I think the people who want us to forget our past are looking forward to repeating it.

    • My thoughts, exactly ! This country has gone crazy with all of this renaming, removing artifacts, all in the guise of “inclusion” ~ what a waste of taxpayer money and time of the government representatives! I will never participate in it. I still call it Mount McKinley & will fly whatever flags I choose, in my own backyard.

  6. William k sounds like you need to read some history books. Have you even heard of the Corwin amendment? Look out for us Conservative Christian Caucasians. Especially if we are southern.

    • They certainly do. the Demowits we call the Anchorage Assembly and Mayor continually impose indentured servitude upon any property owner in the Muni.

  7. Where does it stop?

    Don’t forget to remove or rename anything named after Washington, Jefferson, Grant, Lincoln, and a whole lot of other slave owners and/or racists from our past. (Yes, Lincoln was racist, and Grant and many other Union Generals owned slaves.)

    And don’t forget to remove that “racist” flag… you know, the one that flew supporting slavery for over 80 years before the Civil War, and for 2 years during that war. It is still flown at KKK and other “supremacist” type meetings alongside another flag.

    This is simple bigotry and discrimination against everything to do with Southerners… both black and white.

    At least no Southern state had a law preventing blacks from moving to their state like at least one Northern state did…

  8. States rights! john deere was coming with the industrial age making africoon farm animals obsolete. LONG LIVE THE SOUTH…just another attention whore snowflake butt pirate trying spread his LIBERAL propaganda. But only shows how far his head is up his butt

  9. So the channeling thought policeman wants to exclude the given name because the honored person wasn’t inclusive enough in HIS opinion. God help the mentally handicapped with more BS than brains to be able to reason and help us peacefully send them on their way so we must not suffer their foolishness!

  10. Perhaps someone should remind Robert Driver of the fact this bird, and all birds, indeed all living creatures on this planet, has a scientific name in Latin, the official language of the Roman Empire, which had far more slaves, and for a much longer period of time, than the US ever did. I say he is a hypocrite unless he demands the removal of Latin from the Earth. For the sake of “inclusion,” or whatever.

  11. Despite all you idiots who want to deny that slavery was the driving force behind secession…..I agree that this is a stupid issue. There are a lot of things named after people who weren’t perfect by today’s standards. Naming a bird is a whole lot different than naming a public school or street or a monument after a secessionist/traitor who fought against the USA.

    • Be careful with your reading comprehension, Evan Klein. The debate was over the cause of the war, not secession. They are two different things. Articles of secession show slavery was the primary cause in why the southern states left. But the war itself was started over their right to leave.

    • Secession was not illegal so how do you dimwits come up with traitor? Not one Confederate officer was ever tried for treason.

  12. Fought against the Indians? They were attacking settlers. Yes there were some very bad atrocities committed by white men against the Indian and visa versa. It’s in the past, so get over it!!

  13. REPARATIONS For all family lineage dating back to the Civil War, who fought to FREE the slaves. These are the real heros. GOD BLESS AMERICA and all freedom fighters.

  14. Wow. How sad that we are becoming a nation of cowards. What ever happened to free speech? This nation has been in a downward spiral ever since the 60’s and it’s just getting worse. I shutter to think of what will become of our grandchildren.

  15. If these, people get their way , we won’t have a country, every monument will be tore down or disassembled.
    You could bet, if some group or persons blew up the Martin Luther King statue they’d be up in arms.
    But, meanwhile we have soldiers
    Graves being vandalized or broken
    Into and other monuments that had nothing to do with this only to honor
    The dead. So to their mind, next take
    Down the Iwo Jima monument. This is getting more and more annhelilist.

    Time to grow up, people instead of believe everything you hear. Read

  16. Read the declaration of secession for confederate states. Take the word of the drafters over the intentional effort to ignore what is clearly stated. True that Lincoln was willing to continue slavery for a limited period in a limited area. Southern politicians insisted on unlimited expansion.

  17. The war is over. Regardless of the cause. History shows the winner writes the history books weather their right are wrong.
    If people are mad about history and how they want change it. Then it needs to go both ways.
    White or black. It doesn’t matter we didn’t live in that time.
    If we keep this up there will be another civil war.
    Flags, names, street names ( MLK drives) it goes both ways . We need to remove streets named after Martin Luther King.
    That offends me.
    So people should think .
    Flags – History comes down. So should King Drives etc etc etc

  18. Well I’m going to correct this article! We didn’t name any animal Period! Adam named all the animals after they were created! Genesis: 19-20| 18-And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19-And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20-And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field.

    • …and then Adam said “due to my rich Irish heritage and long standing support of the american confederacy, I shall name this bird… McGowan’s longspur”

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