Friday, August 14, 2015

And Your Bird Can Sing - Bird Names, Part One

Hello, readers!

As more and more nouns are turned into names these days, it's only natural that we would seek out the animal kingdom for inspiration - Fox, Bear, and Fawn among the favorites. My personal favorite, however, are bird names!

This theme offers a wide realm of possibilities, and name fans everywhere can agree: check out Abby Sandel's excellent bird list - Fetching Names: Bird by Bird - and Kristen Gregg's Nameberry blog post - Bird Names: Avian options beyond Robin and Raven.

As for my own spin, I'm going to focus on the symbolic connotations of each bird name - what do we think of when we hear Hawk, Lark, or Robin? This will be the first in a series, since there are far too many bird names for just one post!

Disclaimer: a lot of sports teams use various birds as mascots, and that will definitely influence the reaction to little Oriole or Falcon's name. I won't be addressing this, partially because there are plenty of people who won't make the connection and mostly because I don't know enough about these teams to form an opinion...

Let's begin!

Birdie - "bird" (of course)
Another nickname name coming back into style, Birdie is cute but not very deep. It dropped off the top 1000 in 1948, but celebrities like Busy Philipps and Maura West haven't been deterred.

Falcon - from Latin falx, "curved blade"
Falcons are among the fastest animals on earth, and are known as formidable birds of prey. This is a very forceful name, which could work for a just-as-determined kid. 

Finch - from Old English finc, an imitation of its sound
Now that Atticus has been tabled, Finch could be a strong alternative. A common bird, this brings to mind friendliness and a down-to-earth attitude. I'd say it's a solid contender. 

Hawk - from Old English hafoc, "to seize"
Similar to Falcon, Hawk is powerful and concise. Keep in mind that "watch like a hawk," "hawk" as a verb, and "deficit hawk" all have rather stern meanings. 

Lark - from Old English lawerce, unknown meaning
A very light and happy name, Lark is great for any child born laughing. Historical symbology connects the lark to daybreak or new beginnings, more great connotations. 

Oriole - from Latin aureolus, "golden"
An excellent meaning, but a conflicted name. On the one hand, orioles are bright and beautiful, and a cute nickname could be Oreo. But a kid will have to expect a lot of double takes when introducing themselves. There are plenty of other names that mean "gold" that could work, check them out here.

Phoenix - from Latin
An ancient word, but a relatively new name - Phoenix hit the top 1000 in 1995 and has been steadily rising. Very cool and edgy, a mythical bird reborn from the ashes is a great name that speaks to growth and determination. 

Robin - from Robert, "bright fame"
A bird named for a human, this unisex avian name has been on the charts for decades. Robins have come to be associated with Christmas in recent years, but many will appreciate the pretty and natural feel of the name. 

Sparrow - from Old English spearwa, "small brown bird"
Sparrows are among the most recognized birds in the world, so I think this name could be great for a multi-culti kid. Like Finch, it's friendly, but much more beautiful. 

Wren - from Old English wrenna, meaning unknown
Very small birds, with bold songs and behavior, Wren is perfect for any bright personality. Interestingly, the wren's name in other languages speaks to royalty, due to its golden crest. On a personal note, reading the comic Baby Blues growing up was the first time I was introduced to the name, and I loved it right away. 

What do you think? Any other favorite bird names? Tell me in the comments!

Also, thanks to Online Etymology Dictionary, Wikipedia, and Name Voyager for the background info!

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