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Greetings All,

As expected, Edge and Larry made good points reflecting there experience. Those are very insightful comments on this thread. Thank you!

This brings up another point. Alpha codes can be used as a good tool for bridging the gaps between the birding community and the scientific community. Even while speaking as one of the many on the science end, alpha codes can be used like a term of endearment. Those regularly using alpha codes may already know what this means :). For instance, you may hear your birding companion say, "Look! There's PIWO (Pea-whoa).... isn't he beautiful." Or when driving down a road you may find yourself so happy to see the newly arrived Barn Swallows that you end up speaking out the window to them and saying, "Hi BARS, (bars) (or bahs, if your from Boston) welcome back!"


I wouldn't put them in the same category as LOL or TXT or any other text garble that more and more people use now-a-days. We all know how our societies use of the English language is deteriorating rapidly as the result of a modern media and spell-check. The use of such text codes may be a good tool when trying to bridge the gap with todays youth, but there are always trade offs.

My two cents... alpha codes really aren't that complicated. Isn't all knowledge of birds rewarding and interesting? Like the birds themselves. A medium for exchange. Alpha codes are part of the subculture of birding. The more deeply connected you become, the more you will here see and enjoy their use when experiencing birds and birding.


Ethan

Assistant Director
Ethan C. Duke
www.mrbo.org
660.886.8788



On 25 Mar 2011, at 9:16 AM, Walter Wehtje wrote:

> There's a very simple solution to this issue; use the auto-correct
> function in your word processing program to automatically turn your
> nrws into a Northern Rough-winged Swallow. That way the four-letter
> code becomes a useful short-hand and doesn't require other to decipher
> the acronyms in order to know what you saw. Just add the auto-correct
> instructions to each species as you write your notes and over time
> you'll find that it saves a lot of typing. I work with Whooping Cranes
> and never write out the full name, instead I write whcr for singular
> and whcrs for plural--MS Word does the rest.
> 
> Walter Wehtje
> Wood River, NE
> 
> On Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 8:49 AM, Dency Kahn <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I strongly agree.  We have always said on the list that in the subject line
>> the bird's name would be written in full; if afterwards people want to use
>> the code, at least we do know which bird is meant.  I was totally confused
>> by a message with NOSH in the subj line, thought it referred to a snack
>> while birding because I am familiar with the work in Brit speak.  There is
>> enough to memorize in this hobby with adding this.
>> 
>> Dency Kahn
>> St. Louis County
>> [log in to unmask]
>> 
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: David Becher
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2011 9:37 PM
>> Subject: Re: NO SIGHTING -- Comment on 4 letter bird codes
>> In my personal opinion four letter codes have no place in messages on
>> MO-Birds.  They are vital for banding and useful for field records, but have
>> no place in written communications.  By the way, I also detest the use of
>> FOY, as a word. Iwill admit it is a usable abbrevation although I would not
>> use it.  As for Edge's arguement about not knowing the full bird names, it
>> is not valid in my opinion.  The correct four letter codes are not always
>> obvious from the names because of ambiguous codes where more than species
>> has the same initials or a bird has more than two names and the birds name
>> has changed over time.  It is not worth anyone's while to remember if
>> Northern Roughwinged Swallow is NRSW or NORS or NROS or ROSW or whatever
>> unless they actually use them in the field which I suspect most do not.  I
>> do not have the time or interest to memmorize the 800+ codes for US birds
>> not to mention the 9000 or more for the rest of the world.  When I read a
>> message and have to stop and think which bird the code is referring to it
>> wastes my time and reduces the value of the message as communication.  That
>> is my opinion, if you want to use them in e-mails go ahead.
>> David Becher
>> ________________________________
>> Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 17:58:04 -0500
>> From: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: NO SIGHTING -- Comment on 4 letter bird codes
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> 
>> I don't think anyone needs to apologize for not using the 4 letter bird
>> codes. I personally don't like them, and have trouble reading them. I don't
>> think a mobirds email should be treated the same as recording data in the
>> field. I do find it interesting that there was an outcry when some birders
>> used the scientific (Latin) bird names -- I believe the argument was that
>> some readers would not understand them -- even though they could be easily
>> looked up. Even easier, it might be argued, than finding the 4-letter codes.
>> Plus the Latin names help one learn bird taxonomy.
>> 
>> On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 4:14 PM, Edge <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> The question was asked, "how many more seconds does it take to type out the
>> name itself?"
>> Few, of course, either typing or writing field notes...each time the name is
>> used.  But that's not the only aspect.  The four-letter code is a really
>> useful tool.  And that is the most important thing to remember:  it is a
>> tool.
>> When recording birds seen in the field, those few seconds may make the
>> difference of seeing a bird or having your head down, writing.
>> When communicating with other birders, it is a quick way to convey
>> information.
>> I notice that the sender has no problem with FOY.  That is another short-cut
>> tool, with the same function.
>> I find that many people who balk at the four letter code for bird names
>> often do so because they haven't learned the "official" name of the bird.
>>  Knowing that a robin is an American Robin; that a goose is a Canada Goose,
>> not a Canadian Goose; that a buzzard is a Turkey Vulture, etc.,  is a step
>> along the way of learning about birds.  Yes, it is not necessary to ever
>> take that step, but it can be a big help in learning about birds, where to
>> find them, and what you're seeing when you do find them.
>> Learning and using the alpha code is one aspect of learning about birds.  It
>> isn't an essential part for some people, but it is used by thousands of
>> people as a routine way of recording and discussing bird sightings.  We use
>> it because it is a useful tool recognized and employed by birding
>> enthusiasts and professional ornithologists in all ornithology-related
>> activities.
>> Edge Wade
>> Columbia, MO
>> [log in to unmask]
>> 
>> On Mar 22, 2011, at 8:22 PM, Archie Keiper wrote:
>> 
>> I hit Levee Road in Monroe County (unincorporated Columbia) IL today.  FOY
>> Willet, Pectoral Sandpipers (abt 30), and Little Blue Heron.
>> 
>> Sorry -- I am not educated enough to use the four-letter anacronyms for the
>> species.  The system seems simple enough, but what do you do with Canada
>> Goose vs Cackling Goose, or Barn Swallow vs Bank Swallow?  Besides, how many
>> more seconds does it take to type out the name itself?
>> 
>> Archie Keiper
>> Columbia, Monroe Co, IL
>> [log in to unmask]
>> 
>> 
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> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
> ASM Spring Meeting: April 29 - May 1, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri, http://mobirds.org/Meetings/sprmtg2011.asp

------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Spring Meeting: April 29 - May 1, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri, http://mobirds.org/Meetings/sprmtg2011.asp