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Capitalizing bird names

Re. Steve's question. Bird magizines have differest policies regarding the
capitalization of bird names. Some insist on using lower case, e.g.,
red-headed woodpecker. Personally, I feel vey strongly that not capitalizing
can be confusing (especially for beginning birders), and, in some cases,
ambiguous. E.g. "I've seen a lot of red-headed woodpeckers in Asheville."
(But they've all been red-bellieds). "Last spring I saw a yellow warbler
with blue wings, white wing bars and a black eyestripe." (It was a yellow
warbler all right, but a Blue-winged Warbler, not a Yellow Warbler.)

The only argument against capitalization that I recall hearing was that
other disciplines, e.g., botany, do not use upper-case letters for species'
names. But it seems to me that while many bird names might lead to
confusion, relatively few botanical names do. (Who would think that that
willow tree is really weeping?)


Charlotte Goedsche/Cynthia Janes
Asheville NC