Naming Conventions Among Members Of Family Corvidae

…Okay, I admit it, they’re fictional naming coventions. And I’m so far from being a professional research scientist that I’d probably be picked up as a first baseman for the Phillies before I was hired by Cornell’s department of ornithology. *Waves a hand* That’s not what I wanted to talk about, so anyway.

I wanted to talk about the structures and conventions I decided on when it comes to naming the individuals in the various Corvidae orders. They’re not really as integral to the story in First Flight, but as I’ve worked on the sequel (or what I hope will be the sequel), they’ve become more important.

Corvus corax, the common raven: My ravens have descriptive names that come from the world around them, from abilities, or from events in their (early) lives. Fell-from-tree’s name explains a lot about him, for instance; Finds-mice-well and Sees-caches have names that indicate that they’re good providers (or at least that their parents hoped they’d be good providers).

Other times, their names are simply personal attributes that override any other possibilities–as a sort of bonus, for those of you who have read First Flight: Ate-a-butterfly and Won’t-eat-crickets. I’ll leave who they are as an exercise for those of you who haven’t yet read the story.

Corvus brachyrhynchos, the American crow: As of this moment, I only have decidedly urban crows, all of whom get their names from words commonly found in any city. This includes but is not limited to Espresso, Pizza, and Mart.

Cyanocitta cristata; C. Stelleri, the blue/Steller’s jay: Short, sharp names that are more like sound effects than anything. Jekjek, Cherk, and Zek are examples of jay names.

Pica hudsonia, the black-billed magpie: tail-centric names, like Bright-tail and Mouse-chewed-tail. I have the idea that any pet names they bestow on one another are also tail-centered, heh.

I don’t know if Sings-like-water will be encountering any jackdaws, rooks, treepies, choughs, or nutcrackers, yet — I’ll have to look up their ranges and figure out if he’s traveling east or west. (I’m still in the ‘writing the interesting bits’ stage, which means I’m only worrying about really big questions right now. Like what do highly-urban crows call themselves/one another?)