Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cape May City Bird Names

Originally uploaded by ammodramus88
In honor of a Fourth of July spent unsuccessfully chasing Cape May rarities (but still having a very nice day out), here are some old Jersey bird names from Cape May City.

Black-breast - Dunlin
Black-breast Plover - Black-bellied Plover
Blue-bill - Greater Scaup
Broad-bill - Greater Scaup
Bull-head - Black-bellied Plover
Calico-bird - Ruddy Turnstone
Cob-head - Common Goldeneye
Cur - Common Goldeneye
Diver - Bufflehead
Gray-back - Short-billed Dowitcher
Hairy-head - Hooded Merganser
Hay-bird - Pectoral Sandpiper
Kill-cu - Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs
Marlin - Marbled Godwit
Mommy - Long-tailed Duck
Robin-snipe - Red Knot
Sea-pigeon - Short-billed Dowitcher
Shelduck - Red-breasted Merganser
Short-billed Curlew - Whimbrel
Spike-bill - Marbled Godwit
Spike-billed Curlew - Marbled Godwit


Rick said...

The synecdochic "cob-head" is very interesting: it's redundant, since "cob" means "head."

Do thing "sea-pigeon" was every really used for dowitchers, or is than an error on Trumbull's part?

I love "mommy" for long-tailed duck. Echoic?

Thanks for this, Jennifer!

Rick said...

Wow, some good typing on my part.

Do you think "sea-pigeon" was ever really used for dowitchers, or is that an error on Trumbull's part?

Sorry 'bout that.

Jennifer Hanson said...

Hi Rick,

I have an unspoken pact with friends on e-mail exchanges: I'll overlook your typos if you overlook mine. I think that applies here. :)

As for the names, maybe I should turn this into another post. Cob-head, in particular, becomes much more complicated with a little digging. But otherwise...

"Mommy" for Long-tailed Duck is part of a paragraph where Trumbull lists a bunch of NJ names for the species, all evoking old folks (old molly, old granny, granny, old billy). I think "mommy" is part of this trend, rather than intended to mimic the bird's vocalizations (unlike a Swedish fiddle piece I was listening to earlier today, but that is a whole 'nother story).

As for "sea-pigeon," Trumbull promptly follows up his note with, "It is scarcely necessary to mention that the latter is a guillemot name, as guillemots are not liable to be confused with birds that interest gunners or sportsmen." Ouch! Either someone was having a bit of fun with Trumbull, or (my best guess) "sea-pigeon" was intended to indicate that this shorebird was as tasty as pigeon (Passenger Pigeon, that is).

Further research is needed, as they say in the media. And cob-head is going to get its own post, not that it will ascertain anything whatsoever.

ethan1066 said...

i liked the names and it gave me idea of naming my pet pigeons after that..thanks for this...
netting bird

Jennifer W. Hanson said...

You're welcome! :)