Birds giving “birth”
Posted: 01 February 2011 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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For the second time in as many months I have read news stories about birds giving “birth”. This time in at today’s nytimes. com. New Caledonian Crows Owe Their Toolmaking Skills to a Nourishing Nest - NYTimes.com “the crows they were following gave birth to a total of eight chicks. “ I have been fascinated by crows and watched them mate, build nests, lay eggs and raise hatchlings all my life.

For about seven decades I never heard of bird reproduction being referred to as “birth”. Have news story writers and editors just started using a different terminology (Gotten sloppy?) or did I just miss the word “birth” over all these years?

[ Edited: 01 February 2011 08:46 AM by droogie ]
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Posted: 01 February 2011 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Is there an equivalent “non-formal” word for a bird to produce live offspring? I can’t think of one. I suppose it could say “the crows they were following laid some eggs of which 8 hatched” (wordy) or “the crows they were following produced eight chicks” (formal).  Hmm…

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Posted: 01 February 2011 12:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It’s perfectly correct to use “hatch” with the young bird as the object: “the crows hatched eight chicks”.

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Posted: 01 February 2011 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I agree with Dr. T.—“hatched” would be a better word.  The words “born”, “birth”, “bear” etc. have a connotation of carrying offspring to term and that is not accurate when offspring comes from an egg.  However, birth is also used generally to mean “give rise to”—so the use of the term isn’t wrong—just less specific and therefore less apropos than “hatched”.

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Posted: 01 February 2011 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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What do monotremes do?

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Posted: 01 February 2011 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I don’t think the terminology for monotremes is any different than for birds or oviparous reptiles (except that most oviparous reptiles don’t tend or incubate their eggs, so I’d be less inclined to use “hatch” transitively: “the eggs hatch” or “the young hatch”, but not “the parents hatched them"). Platypuses and echidnas do tend their eggs (the female platypus wraps around it, the female echidna keeps it in a pouch) so I would consider either the transitive or intransitive usage of “hatch” appropriate for them.

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Posted: 07 May 2011 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Nytimes.com has a headline today “A Baby Hawk is Born ... “ so far I have not found any other use or “born” or “birth” in the article.

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Posted: 07 May 2011 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Bear in mind that in most journalistic publications the headlines are not written by the authors of the articles, who have no say whatsoever in what the headline is. It is very common for the headline to be technically inaccurate or sensationalized while the article is not.

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