Color Coded Banding Forms

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At our MAPS station we use many volunteers. Anything that can be done to make something ‘simpler’ or ‘foolproof’ we do. The forms at the bottom of this page have evolved over the past two years and the number of mistakes or errors has decreased. Hopefully we are also learning and improving but the forms are contributing to the improvement also.

One of the first changes I made was to use the data sheets year-round. Why should we use one set of codes for MAPS, and another for the remainder of the year. Generally the MAPS codes were a superset of what we had been using.

Color Coded Data Sheets

Making copies of copies of copies of banding sheets lead to poor quality blank forms. We also had people using the wrong forms for the different capture codes, as they are very similar. Last Season I asked for original copies of the forms so we could print out own. It then became obvious we could add color to make the form easier to use. The first attempts colored every other column of skull, cp, bp, fat, …, juv plumage. When we used then in practice someone asked if different columns could be different colors. That lead to coloring the columns and coloring the reference boxes on the top of each page. Care was used to select very light colors (these were customized in Microsoft Excel) so they would print well, but not hinder the reading of the data when copied in black and white which was expected to be a data entry concern.

Dan Froehlich taught an IBP Banding Class in Wisconsin during August 1998. He left with us a sheet similar to 9 above. Slightly longer description of the codes on the top of the banding form. We then color coded Dan’s one page lookup sheet. I also added to that the page numbers for more detail in the Pyle Guide and the MAPS Protocol. The page, was not full, so at the bottom I added common definitions from Pyle and reminders about our most common errors in processing birds.

The banding sheet has continued to evolve. Strings have 100 bands, so I shortened the form to 26 lines rather than 27. For new bandings I prenumber the data sheets, 25 per sheet. One blank line is left on each page as sometimes we need to correct information. When the sheets were not pre-numbered this was not a problem, now there is a blank line on each form. Four forms, account for a full string. No one records “new bandings” on the wrong page anymore. On the newest versions above the band number the form also says “start a new page for a new string or a new year”. If I need to print a short page, to begin a new year, I still put the bands in the correct postion on the page. I think block out the portion that won't be used with a cross hatched box.

The Recapture and UnBanded pages do not have “Band Size” in the page heading. On those forms, I copied Recapture and UnBanded from the left corner to where the Band Size is on the New Banding Sheets. Also I colored the background of these words. The forms now have RECAPTURES Sheet and Unbanded Sheet to the left of the page number.

Right-click here, then choose "Save-As" to save the sheets (187Kb in Excel 97 workbook format)

Notes Page

We also use a different back notes page, based on some correspondence I had with C. J. Ralph. It still has room for many 'notes', but with multiple banders, and all volunteers, the recording of molt details was driving me crazy (since I do most of the data entry and all the validation). This also has continued to evolve as we now have added a second letter of “B”, for both sides molting the same rather than enter Left the same as Right.

Right-click here, then choose "Save-As" to save the notes page on your computer (22Kb in MS Word 97 format)


Last Update: Monday, 6 May, 2002 .

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