Table of Contents
txny.py: the interface
For the representation and processing of data about wild birds, a firm nomenclatural base is essential. Fortunately, for North American birds, the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) provides a definitive and inclusive classification of forms that have occurred here, in printed form as the AOU Check-List. The AOU's periodical, The Auk, periodically publishes supplements updating the names and arrangements.
In the process of entering a few million records of bird data for the Audubon Christmas Bird Count database, the author also developed a system for representing bird names using a six-letter code. This system currently includes over 2500 codes, each code connected to either a taxon or to an English name.
This document describes a software base for representing the AOU's taxonomic arrangements and the author's six-letter codes as computer files. Once the various input files are prepared and compiled, there are several different ways to access these data:
You can use a single XML file that describes both the taxonomy and the bird code system. Prebuilt files are available for all of the AOU Check-List arrangements starting with the Seventh Edition and its various Supplements.
A module written in the Python programming language makes it easy for you to write scripts in Python that use one of these XML data files.
You can use a set of three “flat files” that can be loaded into a database system or spreadsheet.
To download any of these data or program files, see Section 2, “Files for downloading”.
A companion document, Bird taxonomy system: internal maintenance specification, describes the internals of the various programs in this suite.