[Tweeters] RE: 4 letter codes - good for a minority at the expense of the majority?

Stewart Wechsler ecostewart at quidnunc.net
Tue Mar 20 13:22:01 PDT 2007

"And if you are interested in what all of the AOU codes are (they are ...
far quicker to write if you see a big mixed-species flock)"

I would agree that 4 letter codes can be valuable to learn for exactly the
purpose above - that is for quickly taking field notes, but not for
communicating to an audience that mostly hasn't learned them. (I've used 4
letter codes for botany field work, but can't imagine using them to post to
the native plant society list) While they save time in the field for those
take a lot of field notes and who choose to learn them, they will use up
time for every other Tweeters subscriber that spends time pondering which
bird they are or spends time reading a subject line or post that they don't
understand because they didn't choose to take the extra time to figure it
out .

They are also a good tool to communicate with what I expect is a small
minority of Tweeters subscribers that have memorized them or the few who can
guess every one in a second - i.e. good for you. By using them you will
save yourself a few seconds of typing and then use up what I would expect is
a much larger cumulative number of seconds or minutes spent by the rest of
the Tweeters subscribers for whom it is not worth the time to learn them -
i.e. bad for the rest of us. I would also expect that the "inner circle"
that knows these codes are people that tend to post more and are more likely
to be getting each e-mail as it is posted rather than being on the daily
digest. There may be a disproportionately small number of people that find
the posts frustrating that would post their thoughts and objections and
confess that they don't know something that the "inner circle" knows.

I would be curious what percentage of subscribers have learned these codes.
I'd bet it is under 10%.
Stewart Wechsler
West Seattle
mailto:ecostewart at quidnunc.net

-----Original Message-----
From: Brett Wolfe [mailto:m_lincolnii at yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 7:08 PM
To: Matt Bartels; Tweeters email list
Subject: RE: [Tweeters] Montlake confounding codes - WTSP & WCSP = White
thrsparrow and Wh Crown sp

Ignore this Matt. You did what you were supposed to and wrote the bird
names in your email. And as the reigning King County birding champion, you
have to apologize to no one.

The codes told me what I immediately needed to know, and anyone else who
is interested in the Montlake Fill woulda read your note and jumped over to
the Fill. Cue another 20 emails whining about 4-letter codes in 3, 2, 1....

And if you are interested in what all of the AOU codes are (they are
actually quite easy to learn with few exceptions, and far quicker to write
if you see a big mixed-species flock), you can get them here:


Brett A. Wolfe
Seattle, WA
m_lincolnii at yahoo.com

Stewart Wechsler <ecostewart at quidnunc.net> wrote:

You've all heard it from me before, but if I know if no one says
again others will follow suit and start to do more subject lines in
frustating code, slowing down everyone else's figuring out what their
e-mails are about and whether or not they want to take the time to open
those e-mails. For those who don't use these codes every day WTSP =
Zonotrichia albicaulis and WCSP = Zonotrichia albifrons.

Stewart Wechsler
West Seattle
mailto:ecostewart at quidnunc.net

-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Bartels [mailto:mattxyz at earthlink.net]
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 10:30 AM
To: Tweeters email list
Subject: [Tweeters] Montlake Fill monday morning - WTSP &

Hi all -
I made a short visit to the Fill this morning before the rain really
Over in the garden by the CUH buildings, a tan-striped White-throated
Sparrow was hanging out in the southeast corner.
Best sign of spring was the pugetensis White-crowned Sparrow song
filling the air -- up until today, I'd only heard gambelii songs.

I didn't see the Cinnamon Teal[s] recently reported, but the ducks &
geese were out in good numbers, including the 6 Greater White-fronted
Geese, hundreds of American Wigeon, & a few Wood Ducks.

Good birding,

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA

More information about the Tweeters mailing list