I suspect all of us have personal pet peeves about things that are important to us. These are some of mine regarding birds and the words that some people apply to them.
There’s no such thing as a seagull. Each of the dozens of species of gulls in the world has a common name and not one of them includes the word “seagull”. This is a California Gull, not a seagull or California Seagull.
There’s also no such thing as a Canadian Goose. Their accepted common name is Canada Goose.
We have Canadian bacon and Canadian whiskey (I’m fond of both…) and my mother was a Canadian citizen when I was born but there’s no bird species correctly called a Canadian Goose.
It rankles me when folks assign gender to a bird when sex is not known – usually by referring to the bird as “he”.
In many bird species such as Red-tailed Hawks the sexes are similar and gender typically cannot be determined by casual observation. True, one can sometimes use relative size of the sexes (or behavioral observations) to sex the birds and some species are easy to sex based on sexual dimorphism based on color or other traits but when gender is not really known I think it’s a disservice to readers or listeners (and even to the birds) to say or imply that it is.
I’ve saved the best (worst?) for last.
Birds are not “born”.
No bird species gives birth to live young (though some reptiles and fish do). Bird eggs are laid and then hatch. Mammals are born (with the exception of egg-laying Monotremes like the platypus and spiny anteater which do hatch). It’s far from a pedantic distinction in my opinion.
- Sadly, this Long-billed Curlew egg did not hatch. It appears that its contents were eaten by a predator. I watched as one of the parent curlews in flight dropped it on a gravel road so I was able to retrieve it.
Perhaps some readers have their own pet peeves regarding birds and the terminology applied to them – if so feel free to mention them in the comments if you like. And since I write about birds a lot I may be guilty of violating some of them. If so, it’s fair game to point it out.
And it may be that one of your pet peeves is bloggers who are too nit-picky about bird terminology. That’s on the table too, though I’ll likely defend my position if I feel it’s warranted…