Thursday, April 01, 2010

Bird Names

Do I capitalize bird names? There are several ways that I can get this information, but I prefer the discovery process. What are other people doing? I reviewed some of my magazines on bird watching. It seems to me that a lot of writers use the bird name at the beginning of the sentence and so that means it it capitalized. Maybe they don't really know either. I checked the index of my favorite childhood bird book and I did see a pattern. If the bird name begins with a person's name-Wilson's warbler or Bachman's sparrow- the person's name is capitalized and the bird name is not. If the bird name begins with the name of a country-Canada goose-same rule. But if you are writing about a hermit thrush or a robin, then the name is not always capitalized. But there is confusion out there about the capitalization of bird names and some publications do it one way and others do it another way.

I believe that I will follow the lead of Ted Murin and Bryan Pfeiffer, authors of my newest bird book
Birdwatching in Vermont. They capitalize the first letter of each word in a bird's name unless it is hyphenated such as Red-necked Grebe. I like this method and it is the rule that I will follow.

Searching for birdwords

It has taken me weeks of searching. Once upon a time I set up this blog and then lost the information about how to access it. Now that I have found it again, I realize there is a parallel between looking for birds outside and looking for birdwords on the internet. It all comes down to keeping careful records, searching for information and paying close attention to identifiers--beaks, tails, jizz for birds; usernames, email addresses and passwords for the net. Anyway, here I am again,at last.