The really common names

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at
Mon Apr 1 20:05:11 EST 2002

Barb Beck wrote:

> Monarch is a common name sometimes used for Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (P.
> canadensis) here and in other parts of Canada from Alberta to Newfoundland.
> I would never consider that as a proper common name for any of the
> swallowtails.  Nothing you are going to do about the fact that two butts
> have the same common name in different places.  Around here some people
> still refer to Pine Gosbeaks as Cardinals and Yellow Warblers and American
> Goldfinch as Canaries.
> Barb Beck
> Edmonton

I agree with Barb. I think the point of my post is that we don't have to do
anything about the common names that other people use in common parlance.  We
can guess when one says "Canary" that they are probably talking about some other
small yellow bird. We don't have to correct these uses, but at the same time we
don't have to adopt them, even when they appear in print.  I think that was the
point of Miller's compendium of published common names.

Mike Gochfeld


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