Nothing is safe from cancel culture.
The Gateway Pundit reported on efforts by Kenn Kaufman to change the names of birds who are named after those deemed “unacceptable.”
In 2021, Kaufman told NPR, “Once you start realizing that kind of thing about these historical characters, the bird names take on a more sinister tone.”
Now, leaders of the The Chicago Audubon Society, a bird conservation organization founded in 1971, announced they will change their name to the Chicago Bird Alliance and erase the Audubon name.
Hey! We have a new name! Leaving the problematic 18th century naturalist behind. Details at our website. pic.twitter.com/LKgDPYMeLy
— Chicago Bird Alliance (@chgobirdallianc) October 20, 2023
John James Audubon (1785-1851) was well known wildlife artist whose seminal work, The Birds of America, is a collection of 435 life-size prints that remains an archetype of wildlife illustration.
Two other bird groups in the Midwest, The Detroit Audubon and Madison Audubon, also are changing their names. They will become the Detroit Bird Alliance and Badgerland Bird Alliance.
“Our chapters believe that bird conservation should center birds and collaboration rather than celebrate a historical figure that is aligned with systemic racism,” said Judy Pollock, president of the Chicago organization. “We are happy to be part of a new group of chapters using this name.”
“Our approach has always been to bring nature and people together in a way that serves both,” said Gretchen Abrams, executive director of the Detroit group. “It was important for us to collaborate with other Audubon chapters — especially those in our region — in adopting a name that unifies our members and unifies us as organizations.”
While The Audubon Society announced in March that they will retain the Audubon name, they have added language to their website to distance themselves from their naturalist namesake saying:
It’s fair to describe John James Audubon as a genius, a pioneer, a fabulist, and a man whose actions reflected a dominant white view of the pursuit of scientific knowledge. His contributions to ornithology, art, and culture are enormous, but he was a complex and troubling character who did despicable things even by the standards of his day.
Despite their new website language, only a few years ago an Audubon Society video touted that their name is “to honor the one and only John James Audubon.”