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Dec 7 12 12:30 AM

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As a way to build community on PFW: Sketch, we would like to create a space for all participants and facilitators to submit posts with questions about vocabulary, abbreviations, or acronyms. Please feel free to submit questions and reply if you know the meaning of one of the words posted below.

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#1 [url]

Dec 10 12 6:19 PM



palbin and others have used these abbreviations in their sketches, and I wanted to see if folk could let us know what these stand for?

HOFI, DOWO, PISI, AMGO, and PIWO

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#2 [url]

Dec 10 12 6:33 PM

These are bird-bander's codes.  

For a bird with a one-word name (like Ovenbird), the 4-letter abbreviation is usually the first 4 letters (so OVEN).

For a bird with a two-word name, the 4-letter abbreviation is usually the first two letters of each word.  So:

  • House finch = HOFI
  • Downy woodpecker = DOWO
  • Pine siskin = PIS
  • American goldfinch = AMGO
  • Pileated woodpecker = PIWO
For a bird with a three-word name, the abbreviation usually uses the first letter of the first word, the first letter of the second word and the first two letters of the last word.  So:


American Tree Sparrow = ATSP


The only exceptions are for birds that would end up with the same name using this convention--and that's where it gets...interesting!  LOL 


A good rule of thumb for anyone using the codes is to spell out the name of the bird once so people recognize the code when it comes up later in the post. 


West central WI in a large tract of county forest with a 20-acre woodland wetland just to the south. 
BOSS, sunflower hearts, nyjer, suet, dried meal worms (all year); nectar and grape jelly (spring thru fall).

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fredz

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#3 [url]

Dec 10 12 6:39 PM

Yes, it isn't that difficult when you know how the code works. The problem comes in when you have a "collision" and the usual rule doesn't apply. Two would be  barred owl and barn owl. Barred owl is BAOW but barn owl is BNOW. You can google bird banding codes and print off a couple of sheets of the codes. But there are two used in this country for a reason I don't understand. I use the Bird Banding Code.

Rural South Central Michigan s639.photobucket.com/albums/uu111/ftzilch/ Updated 4/18/11

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#4 [url]

Dec 11 12 9:05 AM

fredz - I didn't know there were 2 sets of codes. Julia - the shorthand was just to remind me what I was attempting to capture in my sketching. I am most familiar with the codes listed in The Crossley ID Guide Eastern Birds.

palbin in St. Paul, MN

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#6 [url]

Dec 11 12 5:46 PM




Thanks so much for explaining the shorthand, that clears things up a lot.

Another question about insider lingo and jargon - what exactly is banding, and why would you need a shorthand for it?


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#8 [url]

Dec 11 12 6:16 PM

Great info, thanks for posting :)

Midwestern suburbs, 1/2 acre backyard, 5 or 6 feeders up at any time, evergreens, crabapples, and other deciduous trees/shrubs, perenniel gardens

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#10 [url]

Dec 12 12 12:35 AM

A well-timed question!  heheh  As a matter of fact, the banding crew is coming out tomorrow morning!  We'll put up mist nets and place bands on the legs of any birds caught in them. Banders take measurements of the birds captured and try to determine age, gender and breeding status.  Some of the birds will have been banded at a prior session, and we can look up the data we gathered on them when they were banded.  Sometimes we catch a bird that has been re-netted multiple times. 

People have been banding birds for a fairly long time.  It's a way to track individuals and gain some insight about populations.  Of course to get any good information you have to catch the bird at least twice--once to band it and once (or more times) to retrieve it.  Sometimes birds are recaptured far from where they were banded.  So far we've only recaptured birds banded here, but we're seeing interesting patterns--we have some chickadees and nuthatches that seem to be travelling together, for instance.  Sometimes birds are banded on their nesting grounds, leave for the winter, then return and are recaptured the following year. We started banding here last year, and this spring, as the sparrows, Gray catbirds and Rose-breasted grosbeaks reappeared in May, I saw some banded individuals.  So some of the birds nesting here last year showed site fidelity and returned for nesting again this year. 

Why the codes?  It's a convenient shorthand for species name and saves time.  For instance, writing Black-capped chickadee or American goldfinch is more time-consuming than using BCCH or AMGO.  When the nets are busy, time is of the essence (the faster the bird is banded, measured and released, the less stressful it is for the bird) and shortcuts are invaluable. Saves on paper, too. 

I posted a couple of threads on the board after our first couple of banding sessions.  If you're interested, you can view them here:
http://forum.feederwatch.org/2011/05/25/banding-at-hazel-run-march-30-2011/
http://forum.feederwatch.org/2011/05/28/banding-main-event-at-hazel-run-24-may-2011/

 


West central WI in a large tract of county forest with a 20-acre woodland wetland just to the south. 
BOSS, sunflower hearts, nyjer, suet, dried meal worms (all year); nectar and grape jelly (spring thru fall).

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#11 [url]

Dec 12 12 5:05 PM

@hazelrunmama: It was very interesting to look at your pictures and read your descriptions of the banding events, thanks for sharing! I'm curious, what would you estimate is the percentage of birds that you catch that have already been banded? 

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#13 [url]

Dec 12 12 8:54 PM

The percentage of recaptures depends on species.  The percentage of recaps is higher for birds that live here year-round since they frequent our feeders and have more chances to be netted at one of our sessions.  The percentage of recaps goes up for these birds the longer we band here. 

For migrants, the percentage of recaps is much smaller. 

As an example: today we banded 25 Black-capped chickadees (BCCH) and netted another 22 of them that already had a band--so today, for BCCH, almost 47% of the birds netted had already been banded, not unexpected in a year-round resident.  Our last session was on Halloween of this year and we had a 48% recap rate then, so it's leveled off to just below 50%.

The figures are different for migrants like Rose-breasted grosbeaks (RBGR).  2011 was the first summer we banded and that year we banded 78 of them.  This summer we banded another 45 of them but only recaptured 2 banded the year before--the others either didn't make it through winter or they didn't stop at our yard on their way to their nesting grounds.  It will be interesting to see if the percentage of recaps goes up for RBGR in the next few years.  I'm still hoping that at some point, some of the migrants we band might be captured at a different site and we'll learn something about their travels.

Not all migrants have such a low percentage, though.  We banded 2 Gray catbirds (GRCA) in 2011 and of the two birds that returned to nest in 2012, one was banded.  We were unable to recapture it, but chances are very high that it was the one banded here the year before.  That would make the return rate 50%, which is right on par with the BCCH, but for different reasons.  In this case, we don't get as many of the species but the one bird, at least, exhibited strong site fidelity and returned. 


West central WI in a large tract of county forest with a 20-acre woodland wetland just to the south. 
BOSS, sunflower hearts, nyjer, suet, dried meal worms (all year); nectar and grape jelly (spring thru fall).

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lyn

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#15 [url]

Dec 13 12 3:08 PM


Margaret, have a look at this page from Cornell's All About Birds website. The drawings indicate the names and locations of birds' exterior features and field marks. The lore is just in front of the eye, and generally behind the bill.
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/page.aspx?pid=1058



Also, if you have access to a Sibley Field Guide, you will find a chapter on
Bird Topography with bird drawings showing the basic parts(their words) detailed, in my opinion, but informative nonetheless. 

Suburban yard with trees & shrubs, New Brunswick, Canada

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#18 [url]

Dec 28 12 3:32 PM

As I recall, isn't a "bill" just a more specific type of beak?  Other animals have beaks (turtles, for instance) but only birds (and maybe platypuses...er...platypi?  lol) have bills...


West central WI in a large tract of county forest with a 20-acre woodland wetland just to the south. 
BOSS, sunflower hearts, nyjer, suet, dried meal worms (all year); nectar and grape jelly (spring thru fall).

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#19 [url]

Dec 28 12 7:46 PM

Google refers to quite a few sources in answer to that query, the conclusion being that they're interchangeable, with "bill" preferred by ornithologists.  But, for the sake of whimsy, I use "beak" to refer to a bill that's curved and sharp and could be used to tear things (like a raptor's), and "bill" for all the other birds.

Nick

Nick Whelan Corte Madera (Bay Area), CA – a small rural/suburban yard landscaped for wildlife, at the edge of extensive forest- and chaparral-covered wild land. 15 feeders. www.flickr.com/photos/nick-eurohobby

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#20 [url]

Dec 31 12 12:26 PM

This is a fabulous thread!  Thanks so much everyone for sharing this wealth of information.

Back country Palomar mtns of So Cal. Mixed deciduous, coniferous, scrub, surrounds 50 acre golf course, lakes, landscaping. Nyjer, BOSS, duck pellets, water.

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