It has been brought to my attention that birders have been repeatedly slipping
into a pattern of using coded bird names (and locations) instead of spelling
Please discontinue using abbreviated bird names (or locations) in code, unless
it is clearly spelled out somewhere in the start of each posting.
This has a place and method for use. This is not the place to use them, and
proper guidelines for use has not been followed.
Abbreviations are acceptable in writing, following certain style guidelines
(nicely explained here:
http://www.aje.com/en/arc/editing-tip-when-use-abbreviations/) or within very
tight circles of people communicating for brevity where the coded word is
completely understood by all.
A majority of the 1,250+ subscribers and the broader base of online readership
are not bird banders, and therefore will not understand the four-letter
acronyms of bird names being used (if even used correctly). Using coded names
may come across as elitist and is certainly exclusionary.
Most recently, Yellow-headed Blackbird has been repeatedly abbreviated
incorrectly as YHBB instead of YHBL. This can cause great confusion and alarm,
and could be clarified in totality by simply spelling out the full bird name.
Otherwise, readers are being asked to read banding code reference guides to
decipher the abbreviation.
The only acceptable and clear way to use an abbreviation is if it is made
following abbreviation standards and guidelines.
For example (hypothetically!):
Today, a Yellow-headed Blackbird (YHBL) was seen at the South end of Cayuga
Lake in Tompkins County, among a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds. Initially the
YHBL was lost in the cattails in the area known as Hog Hole, located at the
very Southwest corner of Cayuga Lake, but the bird was eventually relocated and
photographed at the Northeast edge of the cattails. Thanks to John Doe for
finding the YHBL and getting the word out so quickly. Hopefully, this stunning
YHBL were stick around for at least a few days for others to see and enjoy.
In this hypothetical example, the bird name is spelled out in entirety, with
the abbreviation immediately following. Only after giving the name-abbreviation
association, should you use the abbreviation. Also, note that the location was
made clear for anyone seeking to visit the location.
I believe this point has been made clear and further discussion about it is not
necessary. If you have questions or comments, please direct them to me
(NYSbirds-L eList Owner) at c...@cornell.edu<mailto:c...@cornell.edu>.
Thank you and good birding!
Ithaca, New York
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