Date: 2/22/21 11:46 am
From: Colin Campbell <0000113456d6887b-dmarc-request...>
Subject: [de-birds] Enduring lockdown AND more snow.......
......... while I am looking at my yard birds and, while not seeing any Hoary Redpolls or Ivory Gulls (yet), I did come across a FOY-  FOSP. As I mentally (what's left, anyway) clumsily wrote that, I thought that those who were not strict adherents to " birding shorthand" might not recognize what the heck that was. Especially in the light of recent reports on the DERBA hotline, in which bird species names were shortened to just four capital letters, with which many were struggling to cope. 
So, the above caps stand for First Of the Year - Fox Sparrow. Interestingly, in the same field of view was an actual Fox. Sorry, don't know if mammals also have 4-lettter codes. REFO? 
This 4-letter code apparently has been in use for ages by the bird-banding fraternity, also probably known as the bird-ringing sorority. Just gotta get up to date. So, I thought, a brief primer (pronounced primma here, primer in other english-speaking countries, such as Guyana and Wales) would be appropriate. Not that I am any expert, but I'm used to challenges, which I usually ignore.
So, here's what the basis of the Alpha Code is about. And I haven't looked at the 'rules' on a website, this is my interpretation.
Phase !.
If a bird has a single (english) one-word name, the alpha code is the first 4 letters of that name. 
Quiz #1 - what are these birds - (all North American) - correct full names? No referrals to web/library refs.
ANHI, BANA, BOBO, BRAM, BRAN, BUFF, BUSH, CANV, DICK, DOVE, DUNL, GADW, GARG, GYRF, KILL, LIMP, MALL, MERL, OSPR, OVEN, RAZO, REDH, REDW, RUFF, SAND, SORA, VEER. VERD, WHIM, WILL.
Easy huh? Or not so? Over 25 right? Alpha plus. Under 20 (even with cheating)? Back to the books. 
Phase II.
If a bird has two unhyphenated words in its name, the alpha code is the first two letters of the first name and the first two letters of the last name.O
Quiz # 2. Common names of these birds on the DE State bird list, please.
DE common garden birds: AMRO, BLJA, CACH, DOWO, EATO.
Not so common DE birds: FISP, GLIB, HOLA, INBU, KIRA.
More on the DE state list? LALO, MAGO, NOBO, OROR, PARE.
Followed by, finally: ROGO, SOSA, TOSO, UPSA, VIRA, WAVI.
So, how are you doing now? 
I think that's quite enough for now, having wracked my brain for alphabetical order but, should you be so inclined, I'll try to advance your 4-letter avian education with Phase III. It gets worse! Sorry, more challenging. But hyphenation is not a disease. You can, of course, get all of this and much more, from several websites should YBSI.
Colin Campbell.

























































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If a bird has two (english) names and the first two are hyphenated, as in bell-bottomed or red-moustached, the alpha code is the first letter of the two words in the hyphenation followed by the two first letters of the last (family) name.














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