WINGTIPS

EDITORS: JACK SMITH / HARRY SPENCER.  PHOTOGRAPHER: JOHN KOSCINSKI

 

MAY 2007

Program

What's Happening at Old Woman Creek?

Phoebe Van Zoest

Education Specialist at Old Woman Creek

May 1, Sandy Ridge Nature Center, 7:00 PM

(Note the change in location!)

Many scientists conduct research at this national estuarine sanctuary and state nature preserve. In the last several years Old Woman Creek has gained a new director and a renovated building. Phoebe will guide us through this vibrant facility.

(Our Annual Meeting will follow the talk.)

Board Meeting

Tuesday, May 29, Oberlin Depot, 6:30 PM

Election of officers and appointment of committee chairs.

Field Trips

Augusta-Anne Olsen State Nature Preserve

Saturday, April 28, 9:00 AM

Meet at the parking area.

The Nature Preserve is located about 1 mile north of Wakeman on

West River Road in Huron County. West River Road intersects Route 20 at the Shell Station (Subway Restaurant) on the west side of Wakeman. Steve Harvey, ranger, will be our guide.

Magee Marsh

Saturday May 5, 8:00 AM

Meet at the far end of the boardwalk.

Oak Openings

Saturday, May 26, 9:00 AM

Two miles west of Toledo Express Airport on Route 2, turn south on Route 295, continuing south on Wilkins Road. Follow map to Mallard Lake Area parking at Buehner Center. Bob Jacksy, who did an outstanding job last year, will lead the hike.

Shreve Lake, Brown's Bog

Saturday, June 2, 9:30 AM

Meet at Shreve Lake parking lot.

Summer Tureen Hikes

Bacon Woods

Saturday, August 11, 9:30 AM

Meet at far parking lot.

Indian Hollow Reservation

Saturday, August 25, 9:00 AM

Meet at parking lot off Parson's Road Entrance

Birder's Alphabet

By Carol Leininger

S Scutellum

Scutella are horny scales arranged like shingles on a bird's tarsus (often called leg) and along its toes. The tarsi of starlings and tanagers (B) are scutellate

(shingled); the tarsi of robins and thrushes (A) are booted (smooth); the tarsi of eagles (D) are reticulate (plated); and the tarsi of the woodcock (C) are scutellate in front and reticulate in back. The tarsi and toes of birds are very important indicators of how they use their feet and how the birds are classified.

Special Field-Trip Report

Lorain Harbor

March 17

John Pogacnik led ten birders on a special visit to Lorain Harbor. He described the birding in the following words: "Conditions were miserable with a strong wind out of the north that made conditions for gull and duck watching excellent. There was a nice variety of ducks in the harbor. The best bird was a male COMMON GOLDENEYExHOODED MERGANSER hybrid. It was grouped with goldeneyes just east of the sewage treatment plant. There were quite a few gulls around. The best variety was sitting on the ice just south of the lighthouse. Again the best birds were hybrids. There were two GREAT BLACK-BACKEDxHERRING GULL hybrids, a 2nd year bird and an adult. Other gulls of note were at least 3 GLAUCOUS GULLS, and at least 5 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS."

Species identified: Canada Goose, Mallard, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, American Coot, Bonaparte's gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, American Crow, Red-winged Blackbird.

Reservoir Field-Trip Report

Oberlin Reservoir, Caley Reservation (west ponds), Wellington Upground Reservoir

March 24

With the temperature at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit,

twenty-two birders peered through early morning haze at Oberlin Reservoir, braved a few rain drops at Caley, and enjoyed sunny weather at Wellington. We identified the following species (O for Oberlin, C for Caley, and W for Wellington):

Snow Goose, C; Canada Goose, O, C, W; Mute Swan, O; Gadwall, W; Canvasback, C, W; Redhead, W; Ring-necked Duck, C, W; Greater Scaup, O; Lesser Scaup, O, C, W; Bufflehead, W; Hooded Merganser, O; Red-breasted Merganser, O; Ruddy Duck, O; Common Loon, W; Pied-billed Grebe, W; Horned Grebe, O, W; Eared Grebe, W; Great Blue Heron, O, C; Turkey Vulture, W; Bald Eagle, W; American Kestrel, roadside; American Coot, O, W; Killdeer, O, C; Ring-billed Gull, O, W; Mourning Dove, O, C; Blue Jay, C; American Crow, C; Eastern Bluebird, C; American Robin, O, C, W; European Starling, O; Song Sparrow, C; Northern Cardinal, O, C; Red-winged Blackbird, C; Eastern Meadowlark C; Common Grackle, C; House Sparrow, O.

Some of the group proceeded to Chatham for pancake breakfasts.

Board Meeting Report

March 27, Oberlin Depot

The following are some of the items discussed.

Treasurer's Report: A somewhat detailed Treasurer's Report was presented. For restricted funds (Audubon Adventures, Conservation, Scholarship, and Speakers co-sponsored with Metro Parks), the amounts budgeted for the current year, the balance on hand at the end of 2006, the estimated income for the first three months of 2007, and the expenses for the first three months of 2007 were listed.

Only the Audubon Adventures account has been overspent, surprisingly an encouraging finding. Largely because of Education Chair Dick Lee's efforts, the demand by schools and home schoolers has set a new record for the Chapter. He has convinced many teachers of the efficacy of the Audubon Adventure kits for use in classrooms. A key factor to the new popularity of the kits has been the addition by National Audubon of a key showing which sections of the kits help with which sections of the state-mandated testing requirements. The funds needed to pay for the extra kits are available from non-budgeted, unrestricted income.

All General Expense categories showed a positive balance.

Bluebird Trail: Jack Smith reported that some sixty nesting boxes have been constructed and will be installed soon, thirty each in Findley State Park and Wellington Reservation. Two new Audubon members have volunteered to monitor the new boxes.

Healthy Yard Campaign: This is a National Audubon project to influence homeowners to convert their yards into nature-friendly spaces. As a local part of that project, Harriet Alger showed the Powerpoint material that she has organized during the last few weeks. Already she has three presentations scheduled: Cascade Park, April 21 at 7 PM; Grafton Public Library, April 26 at 7-8 PM; and Mill Hollow, July 19, time TBA. (See Bird-Friendly Backyard Habitat article.)

Young birders: Harriet outlined the plans for helping young people to become more nature-aware. She plans cooperative field trips with local schools in conjunction with Lorain County Metro Parks. Black River Audubon has ordered five pairs of young-person-friendly binoculars.

Welcoming letter: Harriet displayed the newly designed letter to be sent to each new member, whether National Audubon or Local Chapter member.

Appointments: The Board approved Harriet's recommendations for the Nominating Committee (Dorothy Hagerling, Dick Lee, and Harry Spencer) and Program Co-chair (Martin Ackermann).

Great Lakes Compact status: Marnie Urso, Audubon Ohio, reported on the current status of the Compact (see below). It is intended to govern the US portion of the documents which control future water use in the Great Lakes basin. The governments of eight states, including Ohio, are involved. Ohio has not ratified the Compact. Marnie urged Black River Audubon members to write to their state representatives and senators about the need to vote in favor of Compact ratification.

The Great Lakes Basin Water Resources Compact limits withdrawal and diversion of water from the Great Lakes, protects against export and overuse of Great Lakes water, requires water conservation plans throughout the Great Lakes basin, and specifies how each Great Lakes state will act to protect Great Lakes water quality.

Bird-Friendly Backyard Habitat

(National Audubon Society news release)

New York, NY, March 29, 2007.

All across North America, one of the sure signs that spring is here is the return of migratory birds to our woods, meadows, and parks. Another is the return of gardeners and landscapers to their backyards. This year the National Audubon Society is asking people to keep birds and wildlife in mind as they begin their spring planting.

There are many ways to help make backyards, gardens, and parks into healthy habitat for birds and other wildlife. By ensuring that the necessities for survival - food, water, nesting areas, and shelter - are available, people can temper the habitat loss caused by urban and suburban expansion.

To learn more about how to help ensure a successful spring migration and provide safe habitat for our feathered friends, as well as other wildlife, please visit

http://www.audubon.org/news/press_releases/HealthyYard_03_21_07.html#TopOfPage.

"Hot Wings"

The Red-Winged Blackbird

Agelaius phoeniceus

By Jack Smith

In the early part of February, a few male redwings may be observed back from their wintering grounds in the southern US.

With its raucous rattling call and its flashing red shoulder epaulets, this familiar male bird begins to establish his territory by defending it vigorously against intrusion from other males. He uses various visual and raucous displays that Stokes calls "Song Spread, Bill Tilt, Song Flight, Tail Flick, Crouch, and Wing Flick" (Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume I).

I enjoy observing these interesting displays.

The females in their drab checkered plumage arrive several weeks later. Because the females resemble the males very little, beginning birders often mistake the two as separate species. Courtship and nest building starts in April followed by raising of young from late April through early July. Then the birds flock in the marshes and molt. In September the birds join large flocks of other black birds such as grackles and cowbirds and begin migrating to southern states.

Male red-wings are polygamous, and several females may nest within his territory. Females build the nests, preferably in cattail marshes, but also in bushes, saplings, and dense grass in fields. The nest is a bulky open cup attached to standing vegetation and is constructed usually 3 or 4 feet above the ground. She lays 3 or 4 eggs, pale blue-green at one end with black-brown-purple at the larger diameter end. She incubates the eggs for 10 to 13 days. Both parents feed the young. After 11 to 14 days the chicks fledge. Both parents continue feeding the young for another week or so with the male adult assuming a greater role.

In the meantime, the male may take up feeding duties of the young from a second female's brood.

The different plumage of the male and female reflects their different roles in propagating the species. The male sits above the reeds and vegetation defending the territory with various flashing displays of his red epaulets, while the female in her camouflaged suit builds the nest and incubates the eggs at a site unlikely to attract predators.

The breeding range of red-wings extends from coast to coast in the Northern US northward throughout most of the boreal region and into Western Canada. A few red-wings now winter in Ohio and other northern states, which may be evidence of global warming.

Champion Long Distance

Migrator: Bobolink

Dolichonys oryzivorus

By Jack Smith

By the time you read this article, male Bobolinks may have arrived back at the grass fields located at the northeast corner of Lorain County Community College. Since leaving their winter quarters in southern Brazil, Paraguay, or northern Argentina, they will have traveled some 5000 or more miles. This round trip flight is the longest of any North American songbird (passerine).

Attired in their breeding-plumage as portrayed on the back cover of this WINGTIPS issue, they soon begin to establish territories in which to receive the females arriving a week or two later.

The males establish their claims through visual and auditory displays. The latter can be described as a bubbling, tinkling sound. Stokes (Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume III) describes the visual displays as "Song Spread, Song Flight, Bill-Flip, Tail Wing Flick, Wing Lift, and Dropping Down". The territorial claims will have been settled in a week or two, when the older females arrive in their drab brown-streaked attire.

Bobolinks have strong site-fidelity and return within 150 feet of their previous yearís breeding area. When the courtship begins, the male performs its Song Flight, Wing Lift, and Dropping Down maneuvers. Mating occurs after intense courtship.

The female builds her nest on the ground in the open grass field. With a diameter of 2.5 inches and depth of 1 to 2 inches, it is well hidden among dense grass and weeds in a shallow depression.

She will lay 5 or 6 eggs, cinnamon colored, blotched in brown. She incubates the eggs for about 12 days. The male, at least for his first female, shares in feeding and brooding the young for about four days.

The adults do not carry away fecal sacs for the first few days. Thereafter they drop them 50 or more feet from the nest.

After four days the adults cease brooding and stay at nest sites only long enough to drop off food. The young birds fledge after about 11 days, when they begin giving a buzzy call, which helps the parent locate the young for feeding. Insects, spiders, millipedes, and snails are important food for the young.

After the breeding season, flocks of Bobolinks move to marshy areas where, between mid-July through August, they undergo their second molt of the year. Although the female will not change colors, the male will end up looking like the female. Even the male's bill will change from black to a clay color. During this molting period, the birds eat more grains, seedlings, and berries. In the south, the birds are known as "Rice Birds" because the flocks of birds damage rice fields.

After flocking and molting, seasonal movement begins, and the birds begin to migrate at night to their South American winter quarters.

In the last 50 to 100 years, Bobolink populations have been declining precipitously enough that the species may assume threatened status. A major cause of this population decline is the destruction of breeding habitat, such as grasslands. Restoration of grassland habitat such as at Lorain County Community College, Sandy Ridge Reservation, Carlisle Reservation, and other Lorain County Metro Parks is critically important for maintaining and increasing our nesting populations of Bobolinks.

References: Lives of North American Birds by Kenn Kaufman; Guide to Bird Behavior, Volumes I and III, Donald and Lillian Stokes.

Black River Audubon Ebird Site

Species Identified: December2006, January and February 2007

Sites with 12 or more checklists (number of checklists): Avon Power Plant (23), Black River Reservation (18), Carlisle Reservation (45), French Creek Reservation (13), Lorain Harbor (71), Sandy Ridge Reservation (12), Wellington Upground Reservoir (16)

Percentage ranges of checklists reporting a particular species: 50% to 100% (A), 10% to 49% (B), less than 10% (C), identified only once (C1).

Snow Goose (C), Canada Goose (A), Mute Swan (C), Trumpeter Swan (C), Tundra Swan (C), Gadwall (C), American Widgeon (C), American Black Duck (C), Mallard (B), Northern Shoveler (C),

Northern Pintail (C), Green-winged Teal (C1), Canvasback (C), Redhead (C), Ring-necked Duck (C), Greater Scaup (C), Lesser Scaup (C), Harlequin Duck (C), Long-tailed Duck (C1), Bufflehead (C), Common Goldeneye (C), Hooded Merganser (C), Common Merganser (C), Red-breasted Merganser (B), Ruddy Duck (B),

Common Loon (C), Pied-billed Grebe (B), Horned Grebe (C), Double-crested Cormorant (C), Great Blue Heron (C),

Bald Eagle (C), Northern Harrier (C1), Cooper's Hawk (C), Red-shouldered Hawk (C), Red-tailed Hawk (C), American Kestrel (C), Peregrine Falcon (C1),

American Coot (B), Sandhill Crane (C),

Bonaparte's Gull (C), Ring-billed Gull (A), Herring Gull (B), Lesser Black-backed Gull (B), Great Black-backed Gull (B),

Rock Pigeon (B), Mourning Dove (B), Great Horned Owl

(C), Belted Kingfisher (C),

Red-bellied Woodpecker (B), Downy Woodpecker (B), Hairy Woodpecker (B), Northern Flicker (C), Pileated Woodpecker (C),

Blue Jay (A), American Crow (B), Black-capped Chickadee (B), Tufted Titmouse (B), Red-breasted Nuthatch (B), White-breasted Nuthatch (B), Brown Creeper (C),

Carolina Wren (B), Winter Wren (C1), Golden-crowned Kinglet (C), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (C1), Eastern Bluebird (B), American Robin (B), European Starling (B), Yellow-rumped Warbler (C),

American Tree Sparrow (B), Song Sparrow (B), Swamp Sparrow (C), White-throated Sparrow (B), White-crowned Sparrow (C), Dark-eyed Junco (B),

Northern Cardinal (B), Red-winged Blackbird (C), Common Grackle (C), Brown-headed Cowbird (C1), House Finch (B), American Goldfinch (A), House Sparrow (B).

Florida Birding Trip Report

March 23 Ė 30, 2007

by Erik Bruder

I was fortunate enough to spend a week birding in Florida. The weather was picture perfect every day with daytime temperatures in the mid 80ís and just a few puffy clouds in the clear blue skies. The slight breeze did a nice job moderating the mild humidity. Since it is the dry season, there were almost no biting insects. I probably saw 3 mosquitoes on the whole trip.

I spent the trip visiting various sites along the Gulf Coast between Sarasota and Naples and then over to Miami and the Everglades. Sites visited include Longboat Key and Beer Can Island, the Sarasota Celery Fields, Oscar Scherer and Myakka River state parks, Jelks Preserve in Venice, Babcock Webb WMA, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Big Cypress Swamp, and the Everglades National Park.

Highlight species include Magnificent Frigatebird, 10 species of herons and egrets, Wood Stork, White and Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Swallow-tailed Kite, Snail Kite, Short-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, Limpkin, Black Skimmer, Monk Parakeet, Mangrove Cuckoo, Burrowing Owl, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Florida Scrub-jay, Bachmanís Sparrow, Painted Bunting, and Spot-breasted Oriole.

A key item to my successful trip was the excellent guidebook A Birderís Guide to Florida by Bill Pranty. This book, updated in 2005, is part of the ABA/Lane Birding Guide series available from the American Birding Association. The book was very useful for putting me right on top of several species. I would not have found Burrowing Owls, a Mangrove Cuckoo, or Red-whiskered Bulbuls and Spot-breasted Orioles without the guide. It is very strange to have a book tell you where to look for a bird and then to find the bird at that exact spot.

For two nights I stayed at a friendís house in Venice. Their backyard abuts a nature preserve with a pond at the edge of their property. It was nice each night to fall asleep to the chatter of Common Moorhens and the chirps of baby alligators. Of course, the shriek of the Limpkin was a little unsettling at first. My friends have also spotted bobcat and the very rare Florida panther from their yard. Unfortunately I spotted nothing fiercer than an armadillo. I was able to ID 28 species while enjoying a cold beverage on their patio.

Ding Darling was an interesting experience. I was thrilled with the number and variety of wading birds I was seeing, more than I had ever seen in one spot, until one of the volunteers commented to a nearby friend about the awful bird numbers. I was intrigued so I asked them for more information. They shared that over the last year there have been numerous algae blooms and that the bird numbers were down dramatically due to the number of fish and invertebrates that had been killed.

After Hurricane Wilma in October 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River to prevent flooding of sugar cane fields. This release of water flushed a significant amount of agricultural fertilizer and pesticide into the waters around Sanibel Island causing the algae blooms. A slow recovery has begun. I guess Iíll have to go back in a few years to see Ding Darling in all its glory.

Anhinga Trail in the Everglades was another nice stop. Anhinga, Black Vulture, and Fish Crow were all very tame and allowed for extensive close-up study. While on the boardwalk, I had fun watching the families oohing and aahing over the large alligators. The gators were nice but what caught my attention were the half dozen Green Herons calling to one another from the tops of various mangrove trees. I own several recordings of Green Herons but none of the tapes matches the intensity and volume of the call when heard at less than 20 feet.

For the trip I managed to identify 118 species with 31 lifers.

The Bobolinks are Coming!

By Harriet Alger

Several years ago, Black River Audubon, with the support and cooperation of Lorain County Community College, established and now maintains two demonstration natural-preservation projects on the LCCC campus. A grassy area in the northeast corner of the campus has become an important meadow preserve for meadow-nesting birds, especially Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Savannah Sparrows.

The disappearance of tall grass areas in the county has threatened the existence of these beautiful birds, as housing development, malls, and suburban lawns have replaced their nesting areas. The College agreed not to mow this area during nesting season from April to October. The result has been an active nesting area offering great opportunities to see and hear these birds. Male Bobolinks are especially accomplished singers, dramatic in their behavior while courting, and colorful in breeding plumage (See the article titled Champion Long Distance Migrator: Bobolink). Weather cooperating, we should begin seeing them in May. Also, we installed Nesting boxes for Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows around the perimeter of this area.

A second Black River Audubon nature-project at LCCC is the Flora Interpretive Trail in a small wooded area just off the parking lot in the northeast area of the campus. An impressive variety of trees, shrubs, plants, and wildflowers are identified along this trail. Numbered markers are placed alongside examples of each species, and both numbered and alphabetical lists are available at each end of the walk.

Board Candidates

The Nominating Committee (Dorothy Hagerling, Dick Lee, and Harry Spencer) nominates Betty Lake, Jean Sorton, Wayne Shipman, and John Koscinski as candidates for Board membership. Betty, Jean, and Wayne are running for re-election. John is running to replace Carol Leininger, who for personal reasons declined to run again. Additional nominations can be made at our Annual Meeting following the formal program on May 1.

From President Harriet Alger

Thanks to all the people who have made this a very good year for Black River Audubon

--Dave Bragg for his excellent work on our web site

--Harry Spencer and Jack Smith for the much acclaimed new format for WINGTIPS with the help of John Koscinski's beautiful bird pictures

--Carol Leininger for providing consistently interesting, varied programs at our monthly meetings

--Betty Lake and Bernie Pluchinsky and all those who helped to make visitors and new members welcome

--Ken Austin and Joann Wagner who planned our varied and exciting field trips

--Dick Lee who steadily expanded the number of school-classes using Audubon Adventures, opening the world of birds to many more 3rd through 6th graders

--Joe Strong and Jack Smith who helped us balance the budget

--Jack Smith, Wayne Shipman, and all of the volunteers who monitored the bluebird boxes

--Jean Sorton and Jenny Austin who coordinated our social hours and furnished many of the goodies

--Dorothy Hagerling, Joe Strong, and Wayne Shipman for the attention and care they give to our nature preserves at LCCC

--Dane Adams for his work in organizing such successful Wing Watch weekends last year and this year

--John Dunn and all who shared bird-sightings at our meetings

--Lorain County Metro Parks for their support and LCMP naturalists who guided some of our field trips and helped with many of our activities

--All of you who joined us for field trips and meetings

Thank you!

Florida Snowbird Report

By Nancy Shipman

For the past three years, our winter home has been a primitive campground in the middle of a mature pine and southern oak forest with the Santa Fe River running through it. We delighted in watching the woodpeckers, Pileated, Red-bellied, Hairy, and Downy that are common. By day, we would hear the Red-shouldered Hawk calling and at night, the Barred Owls sang us to sleep. But we were disappointed that we neither saw nor heard many songbirds, except cardinals and crows. Putting out our bird feeder only attracted one or two cardinals.

Perhaps due to warmer temperatures and drought conditions, this year is different. The Santa Fe River is lazily flowing several feet below normal, exposing rock, vegetation and shoreline that we have not seen before. Now we see Great Blue Heron, Great Egrets, Wood Stork, Anhinga, and White Ibis feeding along the banks. Robins and Carolina Wrens have joined the cardinals and crows in the campground. We moved our bird feeder and added a make-shift birdbath. Robins bathing, Tufted Titmouse, Yellow-rumped Warblers, chickadees, and Hermit Thrush taking food and drink now entertain us, while Red-eyed Vireos sing from the treetops.

One day we had a pair of Blue Jays visiting. The cardinals were not pleased. They promptly chased the jays away from the feeder. The jays waited patiently nearby for their turn. After repeatedly ousting the jays, the cardinal finally perched on the feeder roof, daring any other birds to invade his territory. In relating this tale to locals, I learned that indeed the cardinals are the feisty ones in this area. What a contrast to Lorain County.

The Carolina Wrens love our campsite. They are constantly chitting and flitting around. They fearlessly feed on tree trunks, under our camper and picnic table. They perch on our steps and woodpile to serenade us and clean our leaves from tree crevasses, all within a few feet of us. One day we watched them busily peck, tug, and remove straw from our broom. What fun they are to watch. I can hardly wait to see what next year will bring. Regretfully, this is the final Snowbird Report.

 

Birders Shorthand

By Harry Spencer

When I write a species identification in my field notebook, I imagine all the species flitting by during the time of writing. But I find, as have many other birders, the four-letter Alpha code to be a rapid and simple way to minimize the recording time. (Alpha stands for Alphabet.)

The code that I use is based on the species common names, readily available in any field guide. The designation of each species consists of four letters. The basic rules for determining the four-letter designations of most species follow some simple rules.

If the common name is one word, the code is the first four letters, example, BUFF for Bufflehead. A two-word name is abbreviated with the first two letters each word, example, AMGO for American Goldfinch. The abbreviation of a three-word name is the first letter of the two words and the first two letters of the third word, example, WBNU, for White-breasted Nuthatch. A four-word name is abbreviated with the first letter of each word, example, BAWW, for Black-and-white Warbler.

The use of these simple rules leads to some conflicts in four-letter identifications, examples, those for Tree Swallow and Trumpeter Swan, and those of Cerulean Warbler and Cedar Waxwing. The codes for these four species are TRES, TRUS, CERW, and CEDW.

What does a birder do if an ambiguous pair of codes is encountered? I think the birder has two choices. Since the code often is a shorthand notation for the birders private use, a best guess at the code can be used. Or if the birder wants to be accurate, the accepted code can be obtained at www.birdpop.org by clicking on Alpha Code. Any guess made in the field can be corrected.

Next WINGTIPS issue: September

 

 

Highlights

Birder's Alphabet

Bird-Friendly Backyard Habitat

Red-Winged Blackbird

Bobolink

Florida Birding

Florida Snowbird Report

Birder's Shorthand

 

 

 

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