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Describes a system for high-accuracy, high-efficiency data entry of bird banding data.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Authority files
2.1. MAPS species code authority file (2004)
2.2. MAPS species code authority file (1998)
2.3. MAWS species code authority file
2.4. MAPS stations authority file
2.5. MAWS stations authority file
3. Protocol history
3.1. MAPS 2013 protocol
3.2. MAPS 2006 protocol
3.3. MAPS 2004 protocol
3.4. MAPS 1998 protocol
3.5. MAWS 2007 protocol
3.6. MAWS 2004 protocol
4. Banding sheet layout
4.1. Bander's initials
4.2. Encounter code
4.3. Band number
4.4. Species name
4.5. Species alpha code
4.6. Age group
4.7. How-codes
4.8. Sex group
4.9. Skull ossification
4.10. Cloacal protuberance
4.11. Brood patch
4.12. Fat codes
4.13. Body molt
4.14. Flight feather molt
4.15. Flight feather wear
4.16. Juvenal plumage
4.17. WRP molt codes
4.18. Micro-aging fields
4.19. Wing
4.20. Body mass
4.21. Status code
4.22. Date
4.23. Capture time
4.24. Station
4.25. Net
4.26. Disposition
4.27. Note number
4.28. Feather pulled
4.29. Cloacal swab
4.30. Color bands
5. The current MAPS/MAWS output format
5.1. MAPS 2006 output format
5.2. MAPS 2004 output format
5.3. MAPS 1998 output format
5.4. MAWS 2007 output format
5.5. MAWS 2004 output format
6. Input file format
6.1. Input design considerations
6.2. Batch file naming scheme
6.3. Input line types
6.4. Sheet header information
6.5. Band prefix line
6.6. Encounter lines
6.7. Lost and destroyed bands
6.8. New band encounter record
6.9. The general (G) new-band record
6.10. Unbanded encounter record
6.11. Recapture record (including changed and added bands)
6.12. Resighting records
6.13. The encounter body section
6.14. The single-column ditto convention
6.15. The 2006 tail section: free-form addenda to the body section
6.16. The 2004 tail section
7. Operation of the programs
7.1. Running the data compilers
7.2. The dbfstruct script: Show dBASE V file structure
7.3. The dbflatten script: Flatten a dBASE V file
7.4. The showstas script: Look up station codes
7.5. The showmaws script: Looking up MAWS station codes
7.6. Looking up species codes: spec2004 and others
8. The emacs extensions

1. Introduction

This document describes a system for streamlining the entry of large quantities of bird banding data for The Institute for Bird Populations (IBP).

The author has been working with the processing of banding data since 1977. This system is the culmination of decades of experience. The current solution uses only open-source, freely available software. Data entry is done within the emacs text editor. Processing programs are written in Python (see

This system handles data from two different projects:

  • MAPS stands for Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship. Data are taken in the summer.

  • MAWS stands for Monitoring Avian Winter Survivorship, and data are taken in the winter.

Two documents present all the programs in this system using a lightweight literate programming style.