Re: My first of today kinglet...and more not bird related :0

Maureen Lahiff

Golden Gate Audubon hosts a chat group at for more general discussion.
We do suggest reporting sightings to the relevant local group.

We do hold an individual's first posting for moderation, but not every post.

-----Original Message-----
From: John Sterling <>
To: semirelicta <>
Cc: Ethan Monk <>; Bruce Mast <>; EBB-Sightings <>
Sent: Fri, Mar 6, 2020 12:56 pm
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] My first of today kinglet...and more not bird related :0

I run the countybirders list and have very open policies regarding postings. Feel free to post about personal birding items for sale, classes and other events, bird sightings, requests for information on species distribution, natural history, status, and other topics relevant to birding culture in all of California. I see no need to impede anyone from making a post that is useful to at least someone in the group. I’ve never had to put anyone on moderated status, ban anyone or deal with ridiculous threads. About ten or so years ago, a couple of non-birding spammers infiltrated the list, but those were dealt with. No problems since.

As has been noted from others over the past decades, if you don’t want to read a post, you can delete it.

Also, I run a WhatsApp group for Yolo Birding (also deals with good birds in Solano/Sacramento area). If you want to join, send me your name and phone number in a WhatsApp text and I’ll add you.

John Sterling

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695

PO Box 1653
Woodland, CA 95776A

530 908-3836

On Mar 6, 2020, at 12:38 PM, Noah Arthur via Groups.Io <> wrote:

I completely agree with this... I have always thought the East Bay birding community is stunted because of the draconian rules on EBB-Sightings. For example, the ban on posting events has been what’s stopped me from leading informal gull and shorebird field trips in the East Bay. I do that in the North Bay specifically because the East Bay Listserve doesn’t allow the announcements.
Oh and I saw a Hermit Thrush in the yard today.
Noah Arthur (Oakland)

    On Friday, March 6, 2020, 10:46:28 AM PST, Bruce Mast <> wrote:

Hear hear! I too am rather frustrated with the draconian limits on bird
sighting-related correspondence.

Btw, just saw a turkey vulture over 4th Street in Berkeley. Poor habitat
for a vulture.

Bruce Mast

On Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 7:21 PM Ethan Monk <> wrote:

Hi All,

Today, I saw the first Kinglet I had seen since March 4th! It was truly a
momentous occasion. Now that I have fulfilled the requirement to post here,
if you wouldn't mind reading further, I have a few other things to talk

I have received several emails recently that echo my concerns and questions
about this EBB-Sightings/Discussion conundrum, and I figured it would be
best to bring these concerns of others and myself to light here, publicly,
where we can all weigh in (unless we are all banned from posting here, a
real possibility at this point). Concerning several emails I have received
about EBB-Sightings v. EBB-Discussion, I am a little confused about the
policies that exist here to segregate the two groups. To confirm, one group
allows for the reporting of current birds (no matter how important, as long
as the bird was seen past few days) but then the conversation must end,
period, end of story, full stop. Any further comments on ID, distribution,
further questions, history etc. must then be bounced to EBB-Discussion?

As anyone who has ever been a member of any business, school, nonprofit
etc. in the past couple decades knows, when you wish to respond to an
email, you generally do not start a new thread to reply. You use the aptly
named "reply" button to, well, reply. The same should apply here, no? If
someone writes a post about a female Mountain Bluebird they found, which I
still need for the county (and would be a cool bird regardless of its
tick-ability) I would think it would be considered appropriate to respond
directly to their email to ask how they told their bird apart from a
Western Bluebird. Instead, the listserv rules we have been forced to adopt
(bit of an oxymoron, that one) dictate that we must instead politely
question that ID in a listserv with 900 fewer readers, possibly entailing
the original reporter does not even receive the message. I, myself, am one
of the 900 members here on EBB-Sightings who is not a member of

I have not been a member of these listservs for the longest time, but I
remember the time when we were on Yahoo. About the time Yahoo messages
started to stall and not come through for hours on end, we sent out a poll
(it turned out to be more like 3-4 polls) to see if we should join the
other couple bird listserves in the state on this platform. One
particularly convincing argument I remember reading was by Colin Meusel,
who now lives in the North Bay I hear, but was then a very active member of
our community. He cited the Yahoo Groups as a place more than eBird; to
discuss ID and distribution and wider topics together as a community. What
happened to this free spirited form of a group where we could discuss and,
dare I say it, even *vote* on what direction we would take our community!
Then suddenly out of the sky came new rules that aimed to make this group
into a glorified eBird. I have almost no point for this group between eBird
and my phone if we aren't allowed to discuss things other than
rare/uncommon birds: I find out about most of the rare birds reported here
via. text generally before I get the email, anyways (that being said
*keep reporting rare birds here, regardless). As well, does it not seem
antithetical to Audubon, sponsors and creators of the Christmas Bird
Counts, a fantastic endeavor in citizen science and bird distribution, to
demote questions concerning bird distribution and helping new birders with
bird ID to a secondary, lesser forum?

On another note there is the argument of those who simply don't have the
time or just don't want to add yet another group to their burgeoning list
of listservs. While not the most compelling argument at first glance, it
makes sense when you consider that anything rare or out of the ordinary
will not be posted to EBB-Discussions, as it will all be here. Clearly some
900 subscribers of this list think somewhere along these lines and have not
joined EBB-Discussions.

And finally, what I want to avoid here more than anything else is "listserv
shame" where members feel reluctant to post because they are worried of
being shot down and challenged over trivial grounds they neglected to pay
attention to before pressing send on that "Are Barrow's Goldeneye Regular
in the County Anymore?" email, as has happened on overly restrictive
listserves in other parts of California. I have even talked to posters here
who have begun to feel the same. I get the rationale for these changes, and
I sometimes get annoyed by the "First of Summer, Barn Swallow!" reports
sent in June, but I can choose what messages to selectively read, just as
someone here was able to choose to not read any S&d posts, and as many have
chosen not to read this novel I've written. And, yes, sometimes discussion
on the old yahoo groups could feel overwhelming after reading all 20
one-sentence replies to the same post, but I'm not sure we have gone about
fixing this problem the right way. Yes, we have made the problem disappear
but also with the side effect of stifling much of our conversations. A
thread can be closed after 8-9 replies, but let's not close it before it
gets even one! And rest assured, I'm sure adding the discussion group's 11
messages so far this year to EBB-Sightings will not suddenly overwhelm the
average reader. (Oh no, what a deluge will be pouring into my inbox! 1
whole new email a week!! My inbox organization will go down the drain!)

I firmly believe that experimentation and change are generally positive
catalysts, yet I think we also need to be able to recognize when a change
has hurt more than it has helped: The segregation of this email group was a
good experiment, but I think it is time that we lock this one up in the
archives of time, and move on as one cohesive list.


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