From: Elias Elias <email@example.com>
Date: January 17, 2016 at 06:56:09 PST
To: nwCalBird <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Elias Elias <email@example.com>
Subject: Sharing bird news.
In Fall 2015, I sent out a less refined iteration of this note. With a new year upon us, folks might want a refresher on their options for their year lists and what not.
In 2016, we now have more ways than ever before to share bird news. Long gone are the phone-tree days. Today, we have phone, email and web-based sites like eBird.org and facebook.com. In this overview, I will give a brief synopsis of the best ways to direct messages to your fellow fanatical bird fiends on this side of the redwood curtain and beyond. If you want to keep up with the bird news, it is probably best to cast your net as wide as possible and check them all.
Quickest and easiest option 1: The premier way is our birders' voice mail system. It is called variously the Northwest California Bird Alert or by many simply the "bird box." For those of us who birdwatch with a phone at hand, this mode of reporting is probably the preferred option because an unlimited number of folks can be notified in an instant with a simple call. All this can be done with barely taking your eyes off the bird. The way it works is an observer leaves a message at 7078225666. Upon hanging up, the answering machine emails the audio file to a google groups Listserv. The list server then emails that audio file to all subscribers. If you have an iPhone. You can set your phone to ding by turning the sender's email address as a VIP. You can then listen to the audio message without calling the alert. If you are hyper concerned with getting messages ASAP, sign up to the Listserv with a iCloud email account and your messages will get pushed to your phone within like 30 seconds. If you have a different email provider you must wait for your email app to fetch messages. Up to 15 minutes will elapse. Things likely work similarly if you have a droid or a windows phone but I have no experience with either of them.
Option 2: The NWCalbirds Listserv can be equally as quick. But you need to take you eyes off the bird to compose the message. But an added benefit, for those with smartphones, it is easy to drop a pin to direct people to your location. You can also add a photo for a multimedia experience.
Excellent option 3: One can subscribe to a several different flavors of eBird.org hourly (or daily) alerts. You can get these alerts online or in your email inbox. If you are concerned with “rare” birds consider: Humboldt and Del Norte. Additionally, you can also get custom tailored emails called needs alert. eBird.org, in knowing your life list and year lists, will only send you notification of your needs either by life list or by calendar year for the states or counties you are concerned about. While not as expeditious as options 1 or 2, it is an excellent way to spread news of birds that are not quite as urgent. You’ll need to create an account with Cornell to use this feature of eBird.org but having an account opens up a whole universe of information that will keep you giddy for years. In addition to the hourly (or daily) alerts mentioned above, you can also follow the recent visits pages: Humboldt and Del Norte. These recent visit pages allow you to see who else is submitting checklists in an area of interest.
Option 4+: I know that there has been a proliferation of Facebook pages to disseminate bird news. And there is probably a way to make your phone ding but I haven't experimented with that yet. I’m not a huge Facebooker and as such I’m not too savvy with these pages. So, if you use these resources, please pipe up and email me your secrets. I'll incorporate them into the next iteration of this tip sheet. Flock on!