TUTI

But not the least bit Fruity.

Let's start at the beginning. I love backyard birds. I fancy myself a bit of a birder but I don't keep records or anything. Mostly, I put out birdseeds, photograph birds and occasionally go on day trips to try to spot a recent bird sighted in the area.


I adore all kinds of birds and belong to a Facebook group dedicated to Michigan bird sightings. I never tire of seeing others' pictures and hearing their stories about Michigan bird sightings. From Snowy Owls to chickadees, all of them are interesting to me. I noticed on said Facebook page that birds were often referred to by 4 letter acronyms. I thought it was just a fancy 'insider's' way of referring to common species. But no. I learned that there are a set of standardized acronyms for all identified birds.



See, the Bird Banding Laboratory in the US uses these four letter codes to identify birds for banding and it's sort of a shorthand for bird names among ornithologists (bird scientists) and birders to identify each bird. And usually, it goes like this: First four letters of a common name if the name is one word. So for example, if the name of the bird is Veery, the code would be VEER. A two-word name, such as American Robin, would use the first two letters in each word and be coded as AMRO. Pretty neat and I had no idea! Here's more information and the full list if you are interested: https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/manual/speclist.cfm


OK - second part. I am making these little keychains featuring the amazing colors of birds. I picked all my favorites (Red Bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jay, etc.). They are completely abstract in design but any birder would recognize the color and/or shape I am incorporating. I wanted to identify the birds in a short and "insider" kind of way.


These are for birders after all. So I discovered the codes. And I was adding them in and I got to one of my favorite little birds, the Tufted Titmouse. I just about fell out of my chair giggling when I realized that bird is formally noted as a TUTI in databases across

the world. So now I am even more in love with this plucky little backyard bird that is full of color and attitude at my feeders each day.

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