Named into a corner!

Hi all! I'm expecting my second daughter (my husband's third) in January and we are struggling to choose a name that will go with her big sisters. My husband has a teenage daughter from a previous marriage and she splits her time pretty evenly between her mom and us. Her name is Sparrow Hollis G----. My husband and I have a toddler that we named Starling Hadley G----. In naming her, we put a big focus on finding a name that "matched" Sparrow's. Star is her only sibling, and we knew the big age difference and only having Sparrow here part time would be challenges to them bonding as sisters, so we felt naming was a good start to helping them see themselves as kind of a sibling team. However, my husband and I were really only planning to have one child together (this pregnancy is a WONDERFUL surprise, but definitely a surprise), so we didn't think further than finding the one perfect name. Now I'm worried that we won't be able to find a name for this new baby that works well with the set we were so careful to create. If it were just a matter of finding a name with the same initials, I think we could do it (I have an S name that I LOVE and an H name that would work for me) but the name I'm liking right now is not a bird name like Sparrow and Starling. I guess my question is, is that okay? Can I use a name that fits the initials pattern but goes its own way in meaning? Or is it really important to find a bird name that works? And if it is, does anyone have any suggestions? (I have ONE name in mind that fits both criteria, but I'm not crazy about it right now.)


October 10, 2014 11:27 AM


Yes or no, is the answer to that one. It depends on, shocker, your child's personality. He or she might worship his/her big sisters and feel left out for not having a bird name, or not all that bothered. I personally wouldn't mind at all having a different sort of name, but I know some kids are really close to their siblings, especially when they're little. If you're sure you like the name you have now, go for it! 

October 10, 2014 1:45 PM

Yeah, I think my anxiety stems from not wanting to get it wrong. There is something in me that is just SURE that if I pick the name I love, my daughter will resent not having a bird name like her sisters, but if I pick a bird name even though it isn't my favorite, she won't even appreciate it or care.

I had no idea before my first pregnancy how emotional the naming process would be! So many conflicting feelings, plus the hormones, plus the feelings of your spouse, makes it hard, and I think it's even harder this second time around.

By tess
October 10, 2014 11:36 AM

How about is not a bird,but I think it is thematically close enough....or Skylark?

October 10, 2014 11:59 AM

Well, not Stork or shrike, but maybe Swift, Swallow (maybe not, because of the verb), Swan (or Swanhild).  Further afield: Snowfinch, Siskin

I think Skylark would be the best fit, and then Swift.

October 10, 2014 12:09 PM

Oh, I like Skylark.  

Since it seems you call Starling Star at least some of the time, another option could be to spin this baby's name as a star name. That would open you up to Stella/Estelle, as welll as all the names of actual stars or constellations.  

October 10, 2014 1:46 PM

I don't really like Skylar, because I always think of it as masculine (and as a misspelling of Schuyler). Swallow also doesn't work for me, and Swan is the one bird name I already had in mind. I'm not really happy about how it sounds with our last name.

Skylark, though, is a great suggestion. Lark was on our list for a long time during my first pregnancy, and Star and Sky could be cute. Plus, Skylark has an "ar" sound in it, which is subtle but makes for a nice repetition of sounds in all three names.

I also really like the idea of Stella, with Starling operating as a kind of "bridge." My "naming style" was much more conservative before I got married (like Mary, Alice, Lucy, Ruby) and Stella hits those notes for me. Marrying into parenthood really pushed me to branch out in my taste. I love my daughter's name, but Stella feels more like a name that I would choose because I just love it, and it also happens to fit with our older girls. I do wonder if Stella stands out as being much more popular or common than Sparrow and Starling?

October 17, 2014 11:48 AM


Bird theme matches sisters but Sky and Star create a stronger bond between the full siblings - so cute


By Bibi
October 10, 2014 7:35 PM

Skylar also came to my mind immediatly! I think that would go perfectly with the other girls!!

October 10, 2014 12:16 PM

Hm, I think this depends a lot on personal preference.

To me, I'd rather have the same initials than worry about them all being "bird names."

I.e. Sparrow, Starling, & Phoenix vs. Sparrow, Starling, & Stasia - Phoenix would stand out a lot more to me as the 3rd than Stasia would.. even though Stasia is not a bird name.

But it could also depend on what the name your considering is I guess.

Do you mind sharing it?

October 10, 2014 12:23 PM

Oh, I guess I'll also throw out: Suzume (possible nn. Zuzu, Zumi, Su), Sarika, Swan, Swift?

I really like Swift actually - Sparrow, Starling, & Swift?

October 10, 2014 1:48 PM

The name I was liking best as of my original post was Shiloh Harper. The other bird name I had in mind but didn't like very much with our last name was Swan.

ETA: Swift feels a little "out there" for me, but it has potential to grow on me, so I'll make a note of it.

October 10, 2014 12:23 PM

If I were you, I would also consider bird names that don't start with S, like Wren or Robin. Of course, it depends on which aspect of the naming pattern you "play up" in everyday life. If you tell your daughters, "your names are both birds, isn't that neat," then I think it is more important to find a bird name than an S name. But if you tell your daughters, "look, you have the same initials, how cool is that," then I think finding a name that shares the initials would be more important. Personally I think the bird connection would be more important (to me) to preserve. Plenty of names start with S, but there aren't all that many bird names that work on people, so it seems like a more unique and special connection for the sisters. In any case I'd keep the middle name starting with H -- seems like an easy thing to do to preserve one more aspect of connection regardless of what you do with the first name. 

October 10, 2014 1:49 PM

Thanks for this response, it's pushing me to do something I hadn't considered, which is to ask my stepdaughter's opinion!

Starling is still too little to be involved in this discussion, but I could at least ask Sparrow what she thinks makes their names "go together" and see what comes up first or seems most important. The first time around, we didn't include her in our decision making, she found out Starling's name once she was named, just like the rest of the family. She's a little older and more mature now, so I'll talk to my husband about at least getting some feedback from her.

October 10, 2014 12:29 PM

I think you've been given two awesome choices: Skylark and Stella. 

I prefer Skylar on its own, but to keep the tradition I think Skylark is nice. You could call her Sky or Skylar.

Because Starling has Star in her name and you call her that, Stella also seems like a perfect match and the middle daughter's name bridges all three names together.  Even though your intent when choosing Starling was to match a bird, that doesn't mean Star can't be viewed as a match for Stella. 

By mk
October 10, 2014 1:42 PM

I think you should choose a name you love and not worry about whether it is a bird name. I think it is more important that the name is something the parents love and has meaning to them. If the names you like already ahve the same initals S and H, then you found your name.


October 10, 2014 1:55 PM

I like the suggestions of Skylark and Stella.

I think a non bird nature name might also work.

For example, I know a woman called Spring, and I think Sparrow, Star(ling), and Spring would all go nicely together. Two of my, "'Guilty pleasure," names-Larkin and Greenly-might also work.

Here's a thought: Have you asked Sparrow? 

Does she like sharing the bird connection with Starling? What would she suggest for the new baby? 

I'm not suggesting you turn over the naming to her entirely, but if you could tell the new baby that her sister helped choose her name, that would certainly provide a connection. 

I think matching the theme is probably more important that matching the letters. I would find Sparrow, Starling, and Sophie more mismatched than, say, Sparrow, Starling, and Wren. 

Of course, plenty of people would pay no attention either way (You have to remember that those of us who frequent this board are a self selected group of name enthusiasts). 

I'd definitely love to know the names you're considering. 



October 10, 2014 2:15 PM

I think you're right, it's time to ask Sparrow for her thoughts. I know she's very aware of her own name being a bird name, but I'm not sure how much she thinks of it as being the connection between the two names. There were a number of reasons that we didn't really include her in choosing Starling's name, but I think now that she's a little more mature and used to being a big sister, some of the dynamics of our family have changed and I'd feel more comfortable getting some input from her. Plus, I think the connection of her helping to choose will make up for it if we choose something that doesn't fit the "pattern" exactly.

The strongest contenders on our list have been:

Shiloh Harper


Scarlett Haven


During my first pregnancy, we also strongly considered:




After the suggestions here, I'm also putting these on the table:




October 10, 2014 2:32 PM

I associate Shiloh very strongly with the Jolie-Pitts, and with Sparrow also being a celeb. kid name (though yours had it first, I'm guessing)! it's just too much for me. 

I like the idea of Swan, but I just don't find it pretty. Maybe it's because I know several older men with the last name of Swanson? lol

Love the name Scarlett. For me, it doesn't work with her sisters' names, and I wish I could articulate why. 

I would love Serenity, except that I associate it with bladder control products (obviously I watch too much TV). I think Serena, or even just Serene, would be worth considering. 

Love Lark, Wren, and Piper. I know Piper is on the trendy side these days, but I still love it. 

I do also love Stella and Skylark for you (I prefer Stella). Swift is all male for me, probably because of the author. 

I'll also toss out Briar or Breeze for your consideration.


October 10, 2014 10:16 PM

I second thinking about non-bird nature names, and also about the theme being more important than the initials.


Some non-bird S nature names: Sage, Storm, Summer

Some non-S bird names: Dove, Lark, Wren, Magpie, Kestrel, Nightingale, Robin, Oriole

October 10, 2014 3:18 PM

Another name to mull over:

Season - I know a women in her 30s with this name.


October 11, 2014 2:31 PM

Personally, I LOVE Sparrow, Starling and Skylark. I like that you can call the two of them Star and Sky, or you could call her Lark. I like Stella, but I'm not sure it has the same vibe as her sisters. Stella is the sister of Vivian or Claire, and Sparrow and Starling are the sisters of Lakelyn or Winter. So I would definetly go with Skylark

October 11, 2014 3:15 PM

I definitely like Skylark.... What about Hazel as a middle name? It's got that same earthy tone, with maybe adding a bit of sweetness to the youngest of the three. Skylark Hazel G----

October 11, 2014 5:16 PM

Skylark sounds like a good option (though it's a car to me, since I grew up where they were made). I like it better than Skylar.

If you want some other ideas, how about Sora or Saras? The sora is a small North American waterbird, and Saras is the Indian name for a kind of crane, and the origin of its common English name, the sarus crane--I'd go with Saras over Sarus b/c it looks more feminine and is at least as "authentic" but you might prefer Sarus to avoid confusion with Sara. I imagine there might be quite a lot of pretty choices if you're interested in looking at non-English names for birds.

October 11, 2014 5:30 PM

I don't know if it would be of your interest, but perhaps you could look into birds with the "s" initials in other languages.

I was researching a few species of birds from Brazil and came up with a few:

Sabia (Sah-Bee-AH) - It's a little brown and rust-red bird with one of the most melodic singing. It's so revered that there are several Brazilian songs with that name or that contain the name of this bird.

Saira (Sah-EE-rah) - There are many different sub-species of this one, but overall they are very colorful and beautiful. Some of them are even endangered species.

As for North American bird names, I found Sora, which is short and cute. Oh, I didn't see that the previous poster had alredy suggested this!

By EVie
October 11, 2014 9:19 PM

I think you've already gotten some nice suggestions, and I especially like Skylark. If you do consider keeping the bird theme but leaving the S theme behind, I will offer up my favorite bird name: Kestrel. I love Kess as a nickname, and the bird itself is a beautiful little falcon, very graceful. 

October 12, 2014 1:47 PM

Thank you all so much for the suggestions and advice! I asked my stepdaughter what she thought made her and her sister's names "go together" and she mentioned their initials, that both names are unusual, and that they are "naturey", in that order.

So after some discussion with my husband, we are looking for an unusual name that starts with S, preferably that has to do with the natural world. We've taken names that don't start with S completely off the table, despite getting some great suggestions.

I wanted to keep both Stella ("star") and Shiloh ("tranquil place") on the list, but my husband thinks they aren't unique enough to go with our older daughters' names. He admitted that this has been his hesitation with both Shiloh and Scarlett all along. I have taken Swan off the table. It fits all our criteria, but I don't like it with our last name.

My husband also knocked off Swift and Storm as being too masculine. I brought up Season, thinking it could be pretty, and he immediately said it made him think of salt and pepper, so that's out.

Skylark is a very strong contender and has the bonus of being a bird name. My husband likes it, but I'm having trouble really feeling it "connect" as a name for MY child, if that makes sense? I guess that is nitpicky, and may change with some time, so we'll see.

We're also still strongly considering Serenity. My husband pointed out that if we wanted to, we could use Ren-->Wren as a nickname for her, which I like.

And my husband, bless him, offered up another suggestion yesterday. What do you all think of Sonnet? I find it very pretty, and although it isn't strictly a nature name, I like the meaning very much. Wikipedia tells me that the word "sonnet" comes from a word meaning "song", which would also tie back in to the bird theme.

Then, we have to choose a middle name. We like Harper, Haven, and Hazel, and I think our choice will be dictated by which one sounds nicest with the first name we choose.

By EVie
October 12, 2014 2:50 PM

Oh, I really like Sonnet! That would actually be my top pick of your three finalists. But I like Skylark and Serenity as well, so I think you're in a very good position to choose whichever feels right.

Of your middle finalists, I like Hazel and Haven, though I wouldn't use Haven with Serenity--Serenity Haven is a bit too much of a good thing, and ends up sounding rather cartoonish. And Skylark Haven sounds like a bird sanctuary. But Sonnet Haven is nice, and I think Hazel is ok with all three. I've never been a big fan of Harper--I just don't find the sounds all that attractive. 

October 12, 2014 11:36 PM

I love that you asked your stepdaughter! I find it interesting that "naturey" was last on her list, and the fact that they're both bird names didn't even come up. But that does give you a bit more flexibility in finding a name. I like Sonnet a lot! And Serenity nn (W)ren is kind of brilliant for your family. Skylark of course works perfectly with your daughters' names, and Sky and Lark both make lovely nicknames. A few more naturey S names for your consideration:









I'm quite partial to Saffron and Sorrel, myself. 

October 12, 2014 11:46 PM

"Serenity" made me think of something that might be...too out there: Serendipity.  Since it means, well, a happy surprise...and you said this baby was a surprise.

October 13, 2014 11:56 PM

Sonnet is definitely my pick. It feels both bird-y and nature-y to me, and it's a lovely name in its own right. 

I will also offer Selah. It's like Kayla with an S. It's a term found in the Psalms, and I believe there is some debate about whether it indicates a musical note, or merely a pause. In any case, I do think it's very pretty and would pair well with your girls' names.

Skylark would be my 2nd choice. 

I just can't get beyond my negative associations with Serenity, though kudos to your husband for thinking of the Wren nickname! I could get behind Serena. 

Love that you've involved your stepdaughter.


October 14, 2014 8:17 PM

The US social security administration comes out with a list every year with the most popular baby names. I looked up the names on your final list. In 2013, Shiloh was given to 440 baby girls, ranking at the 633rd most popular girls' name last year. 5 years ago in 2008, it was given to 474 baby girls, ranking 651. It's basically unchanged in that time. In contrast, Stella, Serenity, and Scarlett are all top 100 names with thousands of babies named that every year, and are all rising the charts. Sparrow, Starling, Sonnet, and Skylark have never ranked in the top 1000.

If you care about names as unique as Sparrow and Starling, then Stella, Serenity, and Scarlett probably aren't for you (assuming you're in the US).

Shiloh: 440 - 633 / 474 - 651

Scarlett: 5031 - 42 / 1620 - 211

Stella: 3880 - 72 / 1822 - 184

Serenity:  4412 - 53 /3102 - 111




October 15, 2014 5:50 PM

Wow, I had no idea Serenity was so popular! I think Shiloh feels more familiar than its popularity suggests because of the celebritot, but this does give us something to consider about Serenity, which is still on our shortlist.

October 15, 2014 7:00 PM

I like Sonnet; as a noun-turned name it feels like a better fit with your other girls' names than something more removed like Stella. I'd also like Song, which feels a little more directly connected to the avian theme. I'd also like Sky or Skye instead of Skylark--it somehow feels more namey than Skylark to me, and also has a prettier sound to my ear (ymmv).

October 13, 2014 8:15 PM

I like Skylark best for the sounds, fitting in with her sisters, for the nicknames, all of it. I will note that you can keep the bird theme and the "S" theme AND keep a cute name you like as a nickname by choosing Sandpiper. :-D

October 13, 2014 10:39 PM

That's brilliant! It's a daring choice, but Sparrow, Star, and Piper (or Sandy) make for a well-matched set.

October 14, 2014 9:53 PM

I really like Skylark - it's almost too perfect to believe! And I like that you can go with Sky or Lark as nicknames. I do like a lot of the other names you have on your updated list, but I feel like it would be hard to resist the S bird name that is actually such a cool name :-)

I know you may feel like it doesn't feel like "your" child's name, but did Starling at first? Just food for thought. 


I think Scarlett would be my second choice. It has the "ar" sound in it to match the other two girls' names.

October 15, 2014 6:40 PM

I think you may be right about how I feel about the name. I'm wanting the same feeling of "recognition" I have with Starling, but Starling is actually my child's name! So that may be too much to expect. But at the same time, I want to be 110% sure we've chosen the name we want by the time this little girl arrives!

October 16, 2014 3:31 PM

I am also a big fan of Skylark for your sibset. It just seems to fit perfectly.

I looked at a list of bird species that begin with S, and I also found:

Sabine (sabine's hawk)

Saffron (saffron finch)

Scarlet (scarlet ibis)

Serra (serra antwren)


Sierra (sierra madre sparrow)

Silver (silver gull)

Sira (sira tanager)

Snow (snow crested warbler)

...and, after looking at that whole list, I still like Skylark the best of them. :)

October 17, 2014 11:02 AM

I love Sonnet!!

Here a few more suggestions:














October 19, 2014 7:17 PM

With everything above my favorite two in order would be:



1. Stella Haven (on trend with more unique) 

2. Skylark Harper (unique with more on trend)

I like these two because your daughter Star has a unique first name and an on trend middle name!

Cant go wrong with either one! 

October 21, 2014 2:15 PM

I'm late to this thread, but have you considered Sequoia? I've always loved it, I almost never hear it, and it -- like other two girls' names -- is a nature themed S name that is both unusual and yet easy to say. 

April 11, 2015 6:39 PM

I hope this is okay--my husband reminded me today that I should come back and thank you all for your help. I especially want to thank tess for suggesting the name we ultimately chose to give our daughter.

Our sweet baby Skylark Haven is three months old today! She is healthy and sweet, easygoing and adored by her older sisters. We are so happy for the help we got with naming her, it took some time for us to settle on a choice, but by the time I held her in my arms, I was able to call her by name!

April 11, 2015 8:39 PM

Oh, yay, thanks for updating us! Congrats on your sweet daughter and her lovely name--I'm so glad you found something you love that fits the pattern for her big sisters.

April 12, 2015 1:32 PM

Congratulations! What a great name!

April 13, 2015 10:32 AM

I love it! Your girls sounds like absolute perfection. Thanks for the update!