American ornithologist. Although patronized by Baird and sporadically employed by the U.S. National Museum to accompany government surveying parties and make field collections, Coues was never formally employed by the USNM. Throughout the 1870s, Coues and USNM ornithology curator Ridgway published a series of rival North American bird species check-lists. The resulting confusion contributed to the decision by Coues, Allen, and Brewster to found the American Ornithologists' Union, and one of the AOU's first actions was to establish a committee including Coues, Allen, and Ridgway that authored the 1886 AOU code of nomenclature and standardized checklist. Coues' name was pronounced "cows."