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Help for the NMOS Field Notes Database Website

Querying the NMOS Field Notes Database

The database is designed to answer a wide range of questions. All queries to the database can be found under the Search Records link found in the header on every page.

What kind of questions can I ask?

You might want to see all the records submitted by a specific observer or you might want to see all the records for a specific species or county.

Can I ask multiple questions?

Yes, you can group your queries. For example, you can type "falcon" for the common name and select "Bernalillo" and "Catron" counties. This will return all birds with falcon in their common name in these two counties.

How about wildcards?

The query process uses wildcards implicitly. For example, searching for the common name "falcon" will automatically give you peregrine falcons, prairie falcons, aplomado falcons, etc.

I know a record's in there, but I can't find it!

It's always a good idea to start broad, then narrow your query once you're sure you and the database are speaking the same language. Species names in particular can be highly variable. If you enter a common name that is different than the one in the database, you will not get a return on your query. If you're not sure, for example, whether the database recognizes Harris' hawk as "HARRIS' HAWK","HARRIS HAWK", or "HARRIS'S HAWK", a simple search for "harris" or "hawk" should yield the correct result, while getting more specific will not. In this case, a more specific search for a "HARRIS HAWK" with scientific name "Parabuteo unicinctus" is futile if ithe database doesn't recognize "HARRIS HAWK" in the first place.

What does Review Status mean?

Data are continually being added to and changed in the NMOS database by NMOS members. In an effort to track the status of changes that are submitted, three categories were created: Review, Incorporated, and Unincorporated. "In review" means changes were received for specific records but those changes have not yet been applied to the database. "Incorporated" means changes submitted by NMOS members have been applied to the records assigned with this status. "Unincorporated" means we were unable to assign changes to these records for reasons determined by the NMOS subcommittee.

Can I print the results or save them to a file?

Yes, you select the type of output you prefer. Go to the query page and search for records. On the NMOS Species Information page (results page), you select either: Printable version from this web view (HTML), comma-delimited text, or tab-delimited text. The first selection, (HTML) will open up in your viewer. The other two selections can be saved to your hard-drive for import into a spreadsheet or database program.

How can I see detailed information associated with records in my query?

The results of your query are shown in a table. If you click on the links in the Sighting ID field, a new window will open with all the details of that record. Note: If your query has more than one record in the table, by hitting one Sighting ID link you can move to the next record in your query. This navigation device is provided on the third line, center of the Sighting ID form. Also, when you click on a link for the title of a field within this form, it will give you the definition used to populate that field.

Taxonomic Issues

In some cases, a species' taxonomic status has changed (sometimes several times). This has resulted in different forms that were once considered to be the same species are now considered separate species, which may mislead the casual user.
  • For example, Western Screech-Owls (Otus kennicottii) were once simply considered Screech-Owls (Otus asio; AOU 1953), but were split by the American Ornithologists' Union in 1983. (This situation may be further confused by the recent assigning of most New World Otus to the genus Megascops; 44th Supplement to the AOU Checklist). Therefore, all records of Otus asio from New Mexico prior to 1983 should be presumed to refer to what is now the Western Screech-Owl, Megascops (Otus) kennicottii unless otherwise noted. Records after 1983 of Megascops (Otus) asio should refer to what is now considered to be the Eastern Screech-Owl, but users should carefully consider the evidence used in documenting the record.
  • Users also need to be aware of other recent taxonomic changes for which only one taxon occurs in the southwest, e.g., Dusky vs. Blue Grouse, Juniper vs. Plain Titmouse, etc. and the confusing nomenclature changes by which the Olive-sided Flycatcher Nuttallornis borealis became Contopus cooperi.

Submitting Data Changes and Comments

To submit comments for records, or for general comments, email us at Submit Info. The link to this email is found in the footer of all pages (see Comments). Please include the Sighting ID for any comments about specific sighting records..

Fields in the NMOS Sighting ID Database

Field Description
Additional Comments This field contains overall notes about the record submitted by the reviewer, subsequent to the original submission in the NMOS Field Notes.
Age The age of the species is recorded using the following standardized entries: * = see Comments, AD=Adult, IM=Immature, NE=Nestling, JU=Juvenile, SU=Subadult, UN=Unknown, NR=Not Recorded
Audio/Visual A check-mark indicates bird sightings at this locality were recorded using audio or visual equipment.
Banded A check-mark indicates a bird was either banded or observed banded at this locality.
Bird A check-mark indicates a bird(s) was seen at this locality.
Changes to this sighting Any changes made to this sighting record since its creation.
Comments Comments about the sighting derived from the NMOS Field Notes.
Common Name Common name of the species.
County County in New Mexico. A "+" indicates multiple counties.
Eggs A check-mark indicates eggs were seen at this locality.
Embryo A check-mark indicates an embryo was seen at this locality. For example, a broken egg with evidence of an embryo was observed or collected.
End Date The end date is the year-month-day of the last observation at this site.
Heard A check-mark indicates a bird was heard at this locality.
Locality Place name for the observation. Typically, these names are associated with the USGS Geographic Names Information System. A subset of the USGS Geographic Names Information System, compiled by NHNM is the New Mexico Geographic Names Information System.
Locality Comments Additional comments about the locality of an observation.
Nest A check-mark indicates a nest(s) was seen at this locality.
Not Recorded 1 A check-mark indicates none of the above listed items were recorded in the original NMOS field notes.
Not Recorded 2 A check-mark indicates none of the above listed items were recorded in the original NMOS field notes.
Number The number of species observed at this locality. If a range of species was observed, this number reflects the lowest number of the range.
Number Comments If a range of species was observed at this locality, the numeric values in this field show the range. Otherwise, the following standardized comments are used (NR = Not Recorded):
  • Common, exact # NR. (0)
  • Exact # NR. (1)
  • Few, exact # NR. (3)
  • Flock, exact # NR. (1)
  • Noted, exact # NR.
  • Seen, exact # NR. (1)
  • Several, exact # NR. (5)
  • Singles. (1)
Observers The observers responsible for the sightings and comments contained in this record. First are the initials used for the observer, followed by their name.
Other A check-mark indicates other information was collected in the original field notes. See Comments for further information.
Part A check-mark indicates a part of an individual was collected at this locality.
Photo A check-mark indicates a photo was taken at this locality.
QC A check-mark indicates this record has been quality checked for accuracy. The records in the database should match the original data in the NMOS field notes.
Reviewer comments Comments submitted by reviewers for this record.
Scientific Name Scientific name of the species
Sex Sex of the bird is indicated as either: * = see Comments, M=Male, F=Female, B= Both Male & Female, UN=Unknown, NR=Not Recorded
Sight A check-mark indicates a species was sighted at this locality.
Sighting ID The unique number assigned in the database for a sighting.
Specimen A check-mark indicates a specimen was collected at this locality.
Start Date The start date is the year-month-day of the first observation at this site.
Volume The Volume number of the NMOS Field Notes for this sighting.

Known Bugs:

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More Help:

For additional help, please contact the New Mexico Natural Heritage Program by email at Refer to the NMOS on-line database in your mail.

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Natural Heritage New Mexico is part of the Natural Heritage Network (NatureServe) and the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico
Last Updated June 8, 2010