Baby Names for the Nesting Mother

Nature names have both old-fashioned and modern charm. While botanical names are nice, creatures can also offer inspiration, especially those of the feathered, winged variety.

Wren is a recent discovery by stylish parents, and could inspire other ornithological names. For those who want something more familiar, there’s also the unisex Robin, both a diminutive of Robert and the orange breasted bird.

The idea of siblings with obviously themed middle names delights me for some reason. Bird themed middle names seem fresher than botanical themed middle names. One of my imaginary sister sets is:

  • Cecily Wren
  • Beatrice Lark
  • Louisa Robin

Had Paul been a girl, I really wanted to name him Cecily Robin, with Robin being a variation on Robert after my husband. Anyone who knows Rob, knows he was vehemently against the idea. But I was ready to fight for Cecily Robin until the end! Luckily we had a boy!

Being someone who doesn’t advocate getting too experimental with kid’s names, I realize taking it upon myself to decide which bird names would work on a person might be risky. Deciding which names to put on this list required some judgment.

I almost included Coquette. After all, Coquette is like Collette. Something didn’t seem right. Then I remembered, Coquette had a suggestive meaning and removed it from the list!

Some birds that made the cut, like Sparrow, may be experimental to the point of entering the celebrity baby name pool. I kept Sparrow because I was feeling open-minded and adventurous but don’t expect it to catch on.

While others like Sora seem like established names. Sora is like Zora but just a tad softer, making it perfect for the typical parent looking for something just a little unusual with a familiar sound. Some quick research revealed that Sora is a unisex Japanese name, possibly meaning sky. For the Western world, I feel Sora is better suited for a girl.

Then I checked established names with bird in the meaning. I assumed all of them would go on the list. And then I wondered if some of these names were unusable for the modern child.

One example is Sacagawea, the Native American who helped Lewis and Clark. The name could mean “bird woman”. Sacagawea was omitted because it could be claimed by the historic figure the same way Oprah is claimed by the TV personality.

So continued my process until I had a list that encompassed the conservative and the experimental, but eliminated the ridiculous.

Here is the final list, containing both obvious and obscure references to birds. Explanations are provided for some names. Girls are coded pink, boys are coded blue, and unisex are coded green:

Adelie
AderynWelsh for bird.
ArgusGreat Argus is from the pheasant family. Another path to Gus perhaps?
Avis
Besra
CircePronounced SUR-see. Possibly meant bird in Greek. Circe was a sorceress in Greek Mythology.
Condor
Dove
Dunlin
EnnaPronounced AY-na; possibly “bird-like” in Irish. Similarity to Emma may give it cross-over potential.
Euphonia
FaigelYiddish for bird.
Fulton
Gannet
Herring
Heron
Lark
Nene – Pronounced nay-nay
Oriole
Osprey
Petrel
Pipit
Pitta
Robin
Sarika
Sora
Sparrow
Spix – Spix’s Macaw is named after Johann Baptist von Spix.
Turgay
Vireo
Wren
Zipporah

More subtle choices indirectly inspired by birds:
Blyth – Blyth’s Tragopan. Could be a variation on Blythe.
Brent – Brent Goose.
Clark – Clark’s Grebe & Clark’s Nutcracker.
Cory – Cory’s Shearwater.
Elliot – Elliot’s Pheasant.
Lewin – Lewin’s Honeyeater. Could also commemorate Australian artist John Lewin.
Martin – A male name with Roman roots and the name of several swallows such as the Purple Martin, Sand Martin, House Martin, and African River Martin.
Rhea – Greater Rhea is from the Ostrich family. Rhea is also a Greek goddess, and Latinized form of America.
Victoria – Victoria’s Riflebird.
Virginia – Virginia Rail.
Walden – Walden’s Hornbill. Could also commemorate the writer.
Wilson – Wilson’s Bird of Paradise.

Readers: Which “nesting” names are your favorites? Multiple votes are allowed this time.

Photo credit

Comments

  1. I like Aderyn mostly because it’s Welsh and MIL’s family is almost 100% Welsh. Wren makes me think of the baby in the Baby Blues comic strip.

  2. I am a great bird lover, so almost any bird name works for me – Falcon, Eagle, Kestrel … maybe not Swallow though.

    I do like the idea of Nene and Adelie, and I think Jacana would also be very usable.

    You have Lark, Sparrow and Wren as female – surely these are unisex names?

    • I almost included Falcon and then removed it. But if Sparrow is usable, then Falcon could be too.
      I forgot to add the pronunciation of Nene (nay-nay) which I’ll do. Maybe Wren and Lark could be unisex names. I was referencing Behind the Name, which indicated they were female names. Sparrow, I just arbitrarily decided seemed more feminine than masculine. I assumed Sparrow wouldn’t exist in any name database, but low and behold, I just checked Behind the Name and see Sparrow listed as unisex, so I will change that to green.

      • There was a famous Australian writer called Nene Gare – her real name was Doris. She lived in Papua New Guinea for several years, and there is a place there called Nene, I presume that’s where the name came from.

        • Now I’m curious as to which came first, the bird or the place. I have never met a single person named Nene. For me, the name is a great find, funky, artsy, unusual, but not unapproachable.

  3. You didn’t mention one of my favorites; Starling! And such an interesting bird as well!

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