In early July, many birders eagerly await the annual report of the American Ornithological Society’s Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of North and Middle American Birds. This committee of professional ornithologists is responsible for making decisions on the splitting or lumping of species, changes in common and scientific names of birds and changes in the order in which birds appear in official checklists.

Like any scientists, ornithologists revisit bird identification and classification as more information becomes available. Requests for consideration of thorny taxonomic problems are accepted by the Committee and sometimes the Committee decides to reconsider decisions on their own.