I had someone contact me last night confused about why they couldn't find McCown's Longspur on a certain county's checklist.
The authority for bird taxonomy, including names, is the checklist committee of the American Ornithological Society (AOS). In 2018 they received a proposal to change the name of McCown's Longspur in an ongoing move to start getting away from naming birds after people, and to be more culturally sensitive. The proposal was not accepted at that time, but in 2019 the committee made some changes to their procedures and the propsal was reconsidered in 2020 and accepted. While some birders may find this move offensive to history, and we can discuss the pluses and minuses of these moves with each other in person, it doesn't change the fact that the Kansas Ornithological Society follows the AOS in taxonomy and thereby names. If you look for it now you will find that the species formerly known as McCown's Longspur is now Thick-billed Longspur. With the updates of the county checklists and county dot maps that I completed last month, this change should be reflected in those documents. If you happen to find a straggler, please let me know!
Be advised that eBird follows a different taxonomic authority and at this time they are still showing the species as McCown's Longspur which doesn't help clear any of the confusion. I expect that this will change sometime in 2021.
If you wish to read the complete proposal to the North American Classficiation Committee of AOS that led to this change it is available online at: