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Some notes on birdslang:

A rose by any other name is still a rose, but a birding site by another 
name can be an exercise in needless frustration for someone who has 
travelled many miles to share in the joys of birding.

Good directions begin with the assumption that the reader/listener has 
never been to the site before, does not know where the zootie was 
spotted two years ago, and has no knowledge of local nicknames for 
places.

I've had three instances of birder names vs. map/road sign names for 
locations in the past month in states other than Missouri:

1.  A canyon in east Colorado.  Birders call it by one name; a series of 
signs to and at the site clearly call it another.  We weren't sure we'd 
reached the right canyon, even after birding it for an hour.

2.  A riverside area in west central Iowa is very clearly signed by one 
name; birders call it something entirely different.  All landmarks fit, 
so we were sure we were at the right spot, but are still wondering why 
the name on the signs wasn't used in any of the directions.

3.  A "lake" (really a pond) in Arizona has multiple names used by 
birders, the local Chamber of Commerce, and golfers.  Only in this 
instance are the alternate names routinely used in bird alert/trip 
report e-mails by birders, and that practice really cleared up a 
critical location question for me.

It is not necessary for birders to give up cherished names for 
memory-rich birding locales.  But, when more commonly used names (as on 
signs and on maps) are known, it certainly is a disservice to novices 
and non-local birders not to at least note something like "a.k.a.  
such-and-such" when we give directions or report sightings.

One of the criticisms lobbed at the "established" birding community by 
newcomers (and I'm not lambasting Missouri birders, here--this is a 
phenomenon of birding throuhout the continent) is that they/we are 
"cliquish".

Giving clear, full directions and using all known names for places are 
important elements in helping newbies and non-locals become comfortable 
within the birding community and that is a big step toward their 
becoming contributing members--a benefit to us all.

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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