SEVERAL years ago – actually, make that many years ago – a curious thing happened as I partook in a football match on a pitch situated next to a river.

One of my teammates suddenly ran off the pitch during the game and proceeded to wade into the river to try to and rescue a heron which was struggling in some reeds.

He eventually succeeded, but not before we had conceded a goal on account of only having ten players on the pitch, with the 11th being knee deep in water a few yards away.

The player, you will not be shocked to learn, was a very keen twitcher and was employed full-time by the RSPB.

He was a very fine footballer but we were never sure whether he would show up for games, or not as a sighting of a great-crested grebe would always take priority over football.

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For matches in rural areas he would always turn up resplendent in waders and a floppy hat after spending a good few hours twitching before the game.

He also had the biggest pair of binoculars I had ever seen – so big, in fact, that it was hard to tell if he was an ornithologist or an astronomer.

Say what you like about ornithology, but participants are a committed bunch and they do a great deal to aid conservation of bird species, too.

Twitchers are worth tens of millions to the Scottish economy every year and should be applauded for their endeavours, rather than ridiculed, which many people do.

But the humble world of ornithology has been rocked by a a rather bizarre racism row that has led to some species being renamed to make them more inclusive.

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) says that dozens of bird species will have their English names changed in an attempt to avoid associations with “historic bias” and exclusionary practices.

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It said the decision was being made “in an effort to address past wrongs and engage far more people in the enjoyment, protection, and study of birds”.

AOS President Colleen Handel, who is white, said: “There is power in a name, and some English bird names have associations with the past that continue to be exclusionary and harmful today.”

“We need a much more inclusive and engaging scientific process that focuses attention on the unique features and beauty of the birds themselves.”

The public will also be “actively involved” in the process of selecting new English bird names.

Judith Scarl, AOS executive director and CEO, who is also white, said: “Exclusionary naming conventions developed in the 1800s, clouded by racism and misogyny, don’t work for us today and the time has come for us to transform this process and redirect the focus to the birds, where it belongs.

“I am proud to be part of this new vision and am excited to work in partnership with a broad array of experts and bird lovers in creating an inclusive naming structure.”

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Bird species linked to Paisley-born “Father of Ornithology” Alexander Wilson are believed to be amongst those to be renamed.

Wilson is said to have used racist terminology in his 18th-century diaries and birds that will be renamed include Wilson’s warbler and Wilson’s snipe.

The issue with this is that those who think them up believe that people from the BAME communities are somehow put off partaking in birdwatching because it is racist.

I think this is extremely unlikely as people from BAME communities do not not want to do it because it is actually quite boring – just like millions of other people feel about itdo.

Just because there are small numbers of BAME people taking part in something doesn’t mean it is discriminatory or exclusive.

You can rename every bird species on the planet and still they won’t take part because they have better things to do with their time.

Diversity and inclusion are vitally important and many employers and organisations have made great strides in removing unconscious prejudice and conscious bias.

Workplaces will be far happier and productive places as a result, but there are some organisations, mainly in the public sector, which go too far.

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The NHS has recently been reprimanded for employing a raft of diversity officers on salaries approaching £90,000 a year.

After all, nothing screams diversity more than a highly paid, white, middle-class official with a clipboard.

Daft schemes by diversity officers and renaming birds does absolutely nothing to promote diversity or and inclusion.

Those who that think they do are living in cloud cuckoo land.