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Bob, et al, welcome to BirderSpeak.

All vocations and avocations have a lexicon of jargon used by  
practitioners.  The use of shorthand phrases and words is a natural  
outcome of the need and/or desire to communicate quickly and  
succinctly.  To the uninitiated, it is jibberish, or even irritating.

Note Webster's definitions of jargon:
1.
a. confused, unintelligible language
b. strange, outlandish, or barbarous language or dialect
c. a hybrid language or dialect simplified in vocabulary and grammar  
and used for communication between peoples of different speech.

2. the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special  
activity or group

3.  obscure and often pretentious language marked by circumlocutions  
and long words


BirderSpeak within the birding community is the expression of  
definition #2; but to the uninitiated it fits definition #1a and b.   
This is the cause of the problem of use of TV and/or the four letter  
acronyms.

It also is the basis for confusion when birders use names for places  
that are well-known among local birders, but not to new or non-local  
birders or to locals who are not birders.  Examples:  Mt. Doom, the  
Cormorant Trees (which are no longer standing).

I also recall a beginning birder's frustration at a day's-end tally  
when Grasshopper Sparrow was called.  She said, "Why didn't someone  
tell me when they saw them?  That's a lifer for me."  "We did.  It  
was called out several times," came the response by several people.   
"You mean all those times someone yelled, 'Grasshopper' you were  
talking about birds, not insects!?"  Oops.

Conclusion:  There will always be miscommunications.  We all work  
hard not to mislead or befuddle on purpose, but sometimes our efforts  
to communicate using jargon that is in our everyday vocabulary as  
birders go astray when heard or read by others.

We can reduce the number of miscommunication episodes in several ways.

As the speaker or writer:
1.  Review what we say and clarify if we think a beginning birder or  
non-local birder might misconstrue or not be aware of a meaning/place  
name.
2.  Write out the full name, then use the four letter acronym  
routinely, as a teaching process.
3.  Invite new birders to go on regularly scheduled field trips or  
informal birding trips so they can learn bird i.d.s, birding  
techniques and etiquette, and BirderSpeak.

As the listener or reader:
1.  Ask for clarification when befuddled.
2.  Make a conscious effort to learn some of the more common four  
letter acronyms (it is not a lethal process and is a useful field  
tool for recording sightings quickly).
3.  Go on regularly scheduled field trips or informal birding trips  
so you can improve bird i.d. skills, learn birding techniques and  
etiquette, and BirderSpeak.

Bodacious birding to y'all,

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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