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How to read Shipman's field notes

This page describes the author's conventions for reporting his online field notes.

Location codes

Because many birds are seen at the same location within a day, each location is assigned a short code that is defined at the top of the day and referenced throughout the species accounts. For example, code "@BdA" might be defined as the code for Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. These codes are displayed here for the convenience of those entering new records, because they are used in the internal encoding of the notes.

In the body of the notes, the "@" symbol precedes locality names.

Bird names

Names follow the American Ornithological Union's Check-List of North American Birds. Most bird names are the ones used at the time in the field. Names change over time; for example, what was Oldsquaw is now “Long-tailed Duck”.

The author uses a six-letter code of his own invention to represent bird names in the original data. These names are translated to their English equivalents. Refer to the author's A system for representing bird taxonomy. For historical perspective, see Overview of systems for encoding bird names.

If two names are given, separated by a slash, this means it was one of two species, e.g., "Flycatcher, Dusky / Flycatcher, Hammond's". Hybrids are denoted by an "x", e.g., "Wigeon, American x Wigeon, Eurasian".

If the name is followed by "?", it means I'm not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the ID. It certainly means I wouldn't count it for American Birding Association purposes.


These conventions are used for counts of individuals:

1One individual.
3+Three or more.
3-No more than three.
3-6From three to six.
~10About ten.
#Many; strictly, more than one.

Age and sex codes

Age codes include "a" for adult, "i" for immature, or "φ" (Greek lowercase phi) for a bird that is either female or immature.

Sex codes include "m" for male or "f" for female.

Second-hand or fide records

When the bird name is shown in [square brackets] and flagged as ``fide'' some person's name, I did not see the bird. It's a second-hand record.

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John W. Shipman,
Last updated: 2008/04/15 01:37:51