Date   

Bethany Reservoir closure (+ Glaucous Gull)

Noah Arthur
 

Hey everyone. According to signage, Bethany Reservoir will be closed for construction for the next two years, from May 2020 until at least Nov 2021. These projects tend to take much longer than planned, so it will likely be closed at least through the winter of 2021-22. 

The flock of a few thousand gulls on the reservoir this afternoon included a 1st-winter GLAUCOUS GULL along with all the common inland gull species. Also a pale, compact 1st-winter Iceland Gull that looks to be a KUMLIEN’S. 

Noah Arthur (Oakland) 


GGAS Launches Climate Action Plan: Please help us and take our survey!

Melissa Ramos <mramos@...>
 

Hi everyone. Melissa Ramos here (GGAS's Communications Manager). This isn't strictly bird related but I wanted to let folks know that GGAS has a new Strategic Plan focusing on Climate Change. Our "Call to Action on Climate" will be our biggest initiative in the coming years. We're hoping to educate the public, get funding for more conservation programs, invite marginalized communities to join our cause, and fight for environmental justice for both people and the birds we love.

We have more info available on our recent blog post, with a survey link inside of the blog. If you have a moment to spare, please take our survey and learn more about why we are taking on this plan. We'd love everyone's feedback and input as we move forward during this time.

Here's our blog post with the survey: https://goldengateaudubon.org/blog-posts/ggass-call-to-action-on-climate/

Thanks so much for reading! Any questions? Feel free to email me at mramos@goldengateaudubon.org


Late Albany Bulb sightings

Alan Howe
 

Hi all.

A week or so ago I biked up to the bulb & was checking out the owl enclosure, where I saw a bunch of brown & black striped birds. I was surprised a bit when they turned toward me with their very bright yellow breasts & I realized I was looking @ a flock--20-30 or so--of western meadowlarks. I'd never seen this many together & it was rather spectacular--especially when they all flushed when a raptor (red-shouldered hawk?--didn't get a really good look before the crows chased it away) zoomed in. 

I was back up there Thursday (?) & enjoyed a nice variety of ducks on the north side mudflats during low tide. Not huge numbers, but still nice. Among them were:
green-winged teal,
canvass back,
pintail,
scaup--perhaps both species,
bufflehead,
ruddy,
American wigeon, &
mallard, of course.
There were also:
avocet,
marbled godwit,
willet,
whimbrel,
other peeps that were too far out for me to ID, 
snowy egret,
d-c cormorant &
a few others I didn't get down.

Peace,
Alan Howe
North Oakland


Re: The Nutalls have returned. Oakland Laurel

Alan Howe
 

In the past week I've had a beautifully bright Nuttal's in the walnut tree in my back yard in North Oakland--& have been hearing more territorial tapping in the neighborhood. Have had a mockingbird or 2 in the yard & singing a street or 2 over, too.

Spring has indeed sprung.

Alan Howe
North Oakland

On Tue, Mar 10, 2020 at 5:40 PM Marcus via Groups.Io <scrod2000=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Just Mrs. Nutall this afternoon.
Had heard some tapping yesterday but thought it was the damn squirrels as the liquid amber was heavily trimmed. Didn't think the birds would return, but they have. Got a lot excavated in a couple of days. Interesting position. They will be digging downward.

Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA


Black Skimmer, Caspian Tern

Becky Flanigan
 

At Middle Harbor Park, Oakland CA at about 6:15 pm, we saw a single Black Skimmer hanging out with 5 Caspian Terns on the sand bar, during low tide on the right side of the tower facing San Francisco. Lots of the other usual shore bird along with a spectacular sunset and the covid 19 cruise ship...

Becky Flanigan
Oakland, California

Sent from iPhone. Please excuse typos and grammatical errors!


Re: Apologies

Steve Taylor
 

I agree with all of this.    


On Mar 10, 2020, at 10:17 AM, Alan Bade <alanb1491187@...> wrote:


I agree with Paul! It's important to remember that this wonderful service has been maintained by a dedicated, hard working volunteer who has put in countless hours, with the best of intentions.  We appreciate the fact that it wouldn't exist without Dal's years of tech support. Hopefully, we will all find better ways for it to evolve to best serve the needs of its' users. We all have a part in this, as users and support.

Thanks for all the postings and all the work in the background, keep them coming! Enjoy the beginnings of Spring.

And here in Pleasant Hill, it seems like sometimes we get 19 Corvids (crows) enjoying the too often open dumpster of the pizza parlor across the street! 

Good birding, Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill

On Tue, Mar 10, 2020 at 5:44 AM Paul Schorr <pkschorr@...> wrote:
Dal,

Everyone has regrets about something, so don’t be too hard on yourself.  And thank you for all that you have done for MDAS and the birding community.  I believe that you meant Covid-19, rather than Corvid-19.   Once a birder always a birder.  🙂

Paul
> On Mar 10, 2020, at 4:01 AM, BirdWideWeb <support@...> wrote:
>
> My apologies to the EBB community. Extreme preoccupation with the Corvid-19 epidemic may have led me to take administrative action with this email list which I now regret. New Guidelines will be issued soon, to be moderated by others.
>
> Dal Leite
> Walnut Creek
> birdwideweb.com
> EBB Tech Support Emeritus
> Go Bears!
>




The Nutalls have returned. Oakland Laurel

Marcus
 

Just Mrs. Nutall this afternoon.
Had heard some tapping yesterday but thought it was the damn squirrels as the liquid amber was heavily trimmed. Didn't think the birds would return, but they have. Got a lot excavated in a couple of days. Interesting position. They will be digging downward.

Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA


Re: Heather Farm Park sightings Tuesday March 10

Steve Taylor
 

Nice!!


On Mar 10, 2020, at 9:25 AM, rosita94598 via Groups.Io <rosita94598@...> wrote:


Not all of us saw every bird, but birds seen or heard were Tropical Kingbird, Nuttall's and Downy Woodpeckers in the same tree, continuing female Common Goldeneye, Common Gallinule, singing Red-winged Blackbirds, singing Ruby-crowned Kinglets a Hermit Thrush, a singing California Towhees, and a singing/calling Sora at the north end of the large, mostly natural pond.  Some of the Yellow-rumped Warblers are starting to look pretty sharp with bright yellow throats and black around the breast.  Tracy Farrington and I saw a snazzy Myrtle Warbler before I headed home.

Heather Farm Park is located in the Ygnacio Valley of Walnut Creek.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: Apologies

Alan Bade
 

I agree with Paul! It's important to remember that this wonderful service has been maintained by a dedicated, hard working volunteer who has put in countless hours, with the best of intentions.  We appreciate the fact that it wouldn't exist without Dal's years of tech support. Hopefully, we will all find better ways for it to evolve to best serve the needs of its' users. We all have a part in this, as users and support.

Thanks for all the postings and all the work in the background, keep them coming! Enjoy the beginnings of Spring.

And here in Pleasant Hill, it seems like sometimes we get 19 Corvids (crows) enjoying the too often open dumpster of the pizza parlor across the street! 

Good birding, Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill


On Tue, Mar 10, 2020 at 5:44 AM Paul Schorr <pkschorr@...> wrote:
Dal,

Everyone has regrets about something, so don’t be too hard on yourself.  And thank you for all that you have done for MDAS and the birding community.  I believe that you meant Covid-19, rather than Corvid-19.   Once a birder always a birder.  🙂

Paul
> On Mar 10, 2020, at 4:01 AM, BirdWideWeb <support@...> wrote:
>
> My apologies to the EBB community. Extreme preoccupation with the Corvid-19 epidemic may have led me to take administrative action with this email list which I now regret. New Guidelines will be issued soon, to be moderated by others.
>
> Dal Leite
> Walnut Creek
> birdwideweb.com
> EBB Tech Support Emeritus
> Go Bears!
>



Heather Farm Park sightings Tuesday March 10

rosita94598
 

Not all of us saw every bird, but birds seen or heard were Tropical Kingbird, Nuttall's and Downy Woodpeckers in the same tree, continuing female Common Goldeneye, Common Gallinule, singing Red-winged Blackbirds, singing Ruby-crowned Kinglets a Hermit Thrush, a singing California Towhees, and a singing/calling Sora at the north end of the large, mostly natural pond.  Some of the Yellow-rumped Warblers are starting to look pretty sharp with bright yellow throats and black around the breast.  Tracy Farrington and I saw a snazzy Myrtle Warbler before I headed home.

Heather Farm Park is located in the Ygnacio Valley of Walnut Creek.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: Apologies

Paul Schorr
 

Dal,

Everyone has regrets about something, so don’t be too hard on yourself. And thank you for all that you have done for MDAS and the birding community. I believe that you meant Covid-19, rather than Corvid-19. Once a birder always a birder. 🙂

Paul

On Mar 10, 2020, at 4:01 AM, BirdWideWeb <support@birdwideweb.com> wrote:

My apologies to the EBB community. Extreme preoccupation with the Corvid-19 epidemic may have led me to take administrative action with this email list which I now regret. New Guidelines will be issued soon, to be moderated by others.

Dal Leite
Walnut Creek
birdwideweb.com
EBB Tech Support Emeritus
Go Bears!


Apologies

EBB-Archivist
 

My apologies to the EBB community. Extreme preoccupation with the Corvid-19 epidemic may have led me to take administrative action with this email list which I now regret. New Guidelines will be issued soon, to be moderated by others.

Dal Leite
Walnut Creek
birdwideweb.com
EBB Tech Support Emeritus
Go Bears!


Re: Recent Changes on Website

Graham Chisholm
 

Bill, thanks for your note, and I was surprised by the level of interest regarding this topic.  Thanks for the decision and providing an update.  Hope you have time to get in the field and enjoy arriving spring migrants. 

Graham

On Sat, Mar 7, 2020 at 4:09 PM William Chilson <billchil@...> wrote:
East Bay Birding Community

I want to apologize to the you for the recent decision to switch EBB Sightings from un-moderated to moderated. The site has been switched back to un-moderated.

EBB Sightings is a listserv operated by the Mt. Diablo Audubon Society (MDAS) to serve the East Bay birding community. The decision to switch the site to moderated was made unilaterally without consulting the East Bay birding community. This was clearly a big mistake.

Going forward, major decisions about EBB Sightings will be made collaboratively with the East Bay birding community. The MDAS Board is working on a new set of guidelines for posting, with the goal of making it once again an enjoyable and educational forum for the dissemination of sightings and other birding information.  The Board is interested in finding a member of the East Bay birding community with the technical expertise, interest and time to assume the role of Site Moderator.  If you have an interest please contact me or a member of the MDAS Board.

We hope you will continue to post you observations to EBB Sightings. We are committed to fixing the problems. We want EBB Sightings to be a place where you can get timely observation and other birding information.



--
Graham Chisholm
c. 510-409-6603


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

tracy_farrington
 

To John Sterling, and others.
The open policy that John describes is both welcoming, and sensible. The strictures apparently put in place by EBB-Sightings are not helpful and, in fact, are
counter-productive to both the enjoyment and information sharing that is fundamental to birding. ID, status, distribution, natural history...these, and related topics,
should always be part of the discussion.

Strick adherence to a "list only observation" policy both restricts, and for that matter, negates the above ideals. 

Good birding, all, this early Spring.
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek 




On Friday, March 6, 2020, 12:56:26 PM PST, John Sterling <jsterling@...> wrote:


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
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695

PO Box 1653
Woodland, CA 95776A

530 908-3836
jsterling@...
www.sterlingbirds.com

> On Mar 6, 2020, at 12:38 PM, Noah Arthur via Groups.Io <semirelicta=yahoo.com@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 <cathrasher4@...> 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
> Oakland
>
> On Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 7:21 PM Ethan Monk <z.querula@...> 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
>> about...
>>
>> 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
>> EBB-Discussion.
>>
>> 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 groups.io 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
>> *please
>> *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.
>>
>> --Ethan
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
>
>
>
>
>




Sibley's crowning moments

Carla
 

Hi All,

Sibley was delightful Sunday morning with Orange-crowned Warblers throughout the Park, Rufous-crowned Sparrows and a Lincoln's Sparrow off the Volcanic Trail, and several charming Golden-crowned Kinglets on the Skyline Trail! https://ebird.org/checklist/S65579899

On Saturday evening, also at Sibley, saw the frequent White-tailed Kite dive bombing a Red-tailed Hawk and making contact.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Spring!
Carla Din
Oakland


Recent Changes on Website

William Chilson
 

East Bay Birding Community

I want to apologize to the you for the recent decision to switch EBB Sightings from un-moderated to moderated. The site has been switched back to un-moderated.

EBB Sightings is a listserv operated by the Mt. Diablo Audubon Society (MDAS) to serve the East Bay birding community. The decision to switch the site to moderated was made unilaterally without consulting the East Bay birding community. This was clearly a big mistake.

Going forward, major decisions about EBB Sightings will be made collaboratively with the East Bay birding community. The MDAS Board is working on a new set of guidelines for posting, with the goal of making it once again an enjoyable and educational forum for the dissemination of sightings and other birding information. The Board is interested in finding a member of the East Bay birding community with the technical expertise, interest and time to assume the role of Site Moderator. If you have an interest please contact me or a member of the MDAS Board.

We hope you will continue to post you observations to EBB Sightings. We are committed to fixing the problems. We want EBB Sightings to be a place where you can get timely observation and other birding information.


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

tomcrown1@...
 

I see both sides of the argument. When I lived in San Francisco I reported seeing a blue throated gray warbler. 

I was rebutted until someone else who I guess folks thought was more thrust worthy made the same report. 

Maybe the moderator of this group is trying to allow others to post without being put down?

I know do most of my posting on California birds on Facebook because I can post pictures of the bird. Should I not ID the bird correctly I am told were I went wrong thus it’s a learning experience. I don’t know why bird pictures can’t be posted on the sighting list 



On Mar 7, 2020, at 10:55 AM, corinnelouise paff via Groups.Io <corinnelouisedesign@...> wrote:


the rigid limits imposed on EBB  are frustrating..
I miss the old list that was a richer resource that went
beyond the simplistic "I saw a ___bird at ___"
please  loosen up.. Corinne Greenberg


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

corinnelouise paff
 

the rigid limits imposed on EBB  are frustrating..
I miss the old list that was a richer resource that went
beyond the simplistic "I saw a ___bird at ___"
please  loosen up.. Corinne Greenberg


GGAS welcomes inquiries about trip leading

Maureen Lahiff
 

Noah, and other experienced birders interested in leading field trips in the East Bay,
are welcome to contact me or Steve Lombardi about hosting trips for Golden Gate Audubon.

(We have a good  number of shorebird trips, but not gull trips, so those would be welcome.)

We publish our trip listings monthly on the GGAS website and send them out to an email list.


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

Maureen Lahiff
 

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

GGAS-Chat@groups.io

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

-----Original Message-----
From: John Sterling <jsterling@wavecable.com>
To: semirelicta <semirelicta@yahoo.com>
Cc: Ethan Monk <z.querula@gmail.com>; Bruce Mast <cathrasher4@gmail.com>; EBB-Sightings <EBB-Sightings@groups.io>
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
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695

PO Box 1653
Woodland, CA 95776A

530 908-3836
jsterling@wavecable.com
www.sterlingbirds.com

On Mar 6, 2020, at 12:38 PM, Noah Arthur via Groups.Io <semirelicta=yahoo.com@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 <cathrasher4@gmail.com> 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
Oakland

On Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 7:21 PM Ethan Monk <z.querula@gmail.com> 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
about...

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
EBB-Discussion.

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 groups.io 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
*please
*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.

--Ethan







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