HMBirds Guidelines -- Please Read
Posting on behalf of the HMBirds Moderator, and the HMBC Technology Committee:
With Spring migration getting underway, it is a good time to remind members of the HMBirds guidelines. HMBirds has nearly 500 members who can generate many postings every day. It is important that both new and experienced members understand HMBirds purpose and rules. Please read through the full guidelines below.
Purpose of HMBirds:
HMBirds was established to enable members to report and discuss bird sightings in New York's Hudson-Mohawk Region (comprising Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington Counties).
The following guidelines are designed to make communication through HMBirds as efficient and collegial as possible while providing adequate information on bird sightings.
Content of posts:
HMBirds is focused is on wild birds and birding in the Hudson-Mohawk Region. Discussion of bird identification and behavior are particularly germane. Conservation matters may be raised, but HMBirds is not a policy forum and advocacy of specific policies or actions is not appropriate. Political and religious advocacy or commentary is not appropriate for HMBirds.
The subject line of the report should be informative so readers can quickly decide whether to look at a message.
Members should sign the post with their real name.
For clarity, a bird should be identified by English species name and not by an abbreviation or nickname. Remember that HMBirds is a general list-serve and is not directed at experts or specialists. Even common abbreviations, such as GBH for Great Blue Heron or sharpie for Sharp-shinned Hawk, may leave inexperienced members in the dark. Bird-banders’ codes (i.e. the four letter acronyms based on the name of the bird that are used by bird-banders) are not suitable for HMBirds. Although they are well-defined abbreviations it is easy to err when using them, and they carry a tone of elitism which is out of keeping with the character of HMBirds. If an abbreviation is needed, as in a long report, it should be defined in parentheses when first used.
Reports of rare or unusual birds in the Hudson-Mohawk region should include enough detail to provide confidence in the bird's identity, and detailed directions to the location of the bird also should be provided (GPS coordinates are very helpful if you can provide them). Remember that birders may travel some distance and spend considerable time to find a bird you have reported.
Users should be respectful of others in their writings. Disagreements are to be expected, but they should be expressed in a civil and collegial manner.
Congratulatory messages (for example, 'great find' or 'nice photo') should not be posted on HMBirds but should be sent directly to the recipient.
Advertising is generally not permitted on HMBirds.
The Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club (which sponsors HMBirds), the New York State Ornithological Association and other birding organizations in the Hudson-Mohawk region make occasional announcements on HMBirds.
Out-of-area reports of rarities that members may wish to travel to see also may be posted. The message header should include the term "out-of-area" or "extralimital" and the name of the bird and its general location (for example, "Out-of-area report: Ivory Gull at Rouses Point"). This will help members decide whether to read the message or skip over it. These reports should include detailed directions to the location of the bird or a link to the directions.
Reports of personal birding trips out of the area are not appropriate for HMBirds.
Photographs to document bird sightings may be posted. They are particularly desirable in the cases of rarities and birds that are hard to identify. Photographs should be accompanied by text describing the sighting and the point(s) that the photograph illuminates.
Photographs of out-of-area birds are generally not appropriate for HMBirds.