Date: 5/1/17 7:07 am
From: Karen And Jim Rowe <00000131a1cf8fbc-dmarc-request...>
Subject: Re: 4 letter codes
Thanks for the great explanation DAMA,
Karen Rowe (KARO)

Sent from my iPhone

> On May 1, 2017, at 8:57 AM, Daniel Mason <millipede1977...> wrote:
> After seeing this comment, I thought I'd add a few thoughts. First, I agree. lots of people of various skills(and backgrounds) join this list. It's not always easy to change what we do shorthand to speed things up if it's what we just do all the time but, it's helpful for everyone that's learning if we can when we remember. :)
>> A reminder: on first mention, can you please provide the full common name of the bird?
> These codes are confusing at first... very confusing. And, some are quite tricky when the rules start to change... cang and cacg for some easy examples.
> Anyone interested in learning... A lot of the basic birds are quite easy to get used to their codes. And, why bother? It's not necessary at all, of course, but it can speed things up if you're writing down bird names often enough. Whether checking birds off in a notebook or even submitting to Ebird. In a notebook, if you're out making a checklist, you sure don't want to pause for a moment to write down "northern rough-winged swallow." Takes time and a lot of room on the paper. "nrws" is just easier. And if you decide to submit your checklist to Ebird, both on their site and their phone app, you can start typing in nrws and that bird will pop right up on the list for you. So there are some benefits to learning the codes.
> Here are the basic rules to the code....
> 1. A bird with two names, you simply take the first 2 letters of each name. Northern Cardinal = NOCA.
> 2. A bird with one name, simply the first 4 letters of the name. Mallard = MALL.
> 3. A bird with three names, first letter from the first two names + the first two of the last(even with hyphenated names). Golden-crowned kinglet = GCKI
> 4. A bird with four names, first letter of each. Northern rough-winged swallow = NRWS.
> Exceptions... Here's the only part that can become tricky... birds that would end up with the same code. Canada goose and Cackling goose. By those rules you'd use the same code. So, it becomes the first three letters of the first name and then the first of the last name. CANG = Canada goose. CACG = Cackling goose.
> But it gets trickier when the first three letters match too... Barred owl and Barn owl. It appears you use the first two AND the last letter of the first name, and then the first of the last. Barred owl is BADO and Barn owl is BANO.
> What is even trickier is, it seems this rule does not always apply. BARG is barnacle goose and BAGO is Barrow's goldeneye. I am not sure why the goldeneye gets to keep the typical code and the goose gets bumped to the alternate.
> Anyway... anyone interested in trying this for their own record keeping or using Ebird, it might seem daunting at first but you get used to it and if you're making lists, it's a time saver. Start with basics... and, here's a PDF file I found a couple years ago that has the codes for 2k+ birds. Ignore the 6 letter codes.
> Quick side note... with Ebird, they'll often accept incorrect codes when you start typing. If you type SASP, savannah sparrow will pop up as one of the possibilities even though its code is actually SAVS. I used to write SASP in my notebooks til I eventually learned I was doing that wrong. :)
> I think it's good when people throw out both names and codes. I've seen that done in some posts in a forum I use sometimes. They'll make sure they mention the birds name for people unfamiliar with the codes but if they have to mention it again, they'll use the codes.
> Anyway... happy birding :)
> Daniel Mason
> Virus-free.

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