Date: 12/6/18 9:14 am
From: Diana Beatty <otowi33.33...>
Subject: Re: [cobirds] Thoughts on rare bird communications - a conversation starter and a suggestion
If there is interest in a Facebook group for Colorado Rare Birds i would be
happy to create one. I think many people are kind of doing it already in a
variety of existing Facebook groups like CFO, DFO, etc. But if people in
general see a need/value in having a specific page for that purpose it
would be pretty easy for me to get it started, fyi.

Diana Beatty
El Paso County

On Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 10:07 AM Carl Bendorf <carlbendorf...> wrote:

> The current debate about rare bird communications in Colorado is very
> interesting. First, there is the current discussion related to the Larimer
> County Gyrfalcon. I'm fairly certain these exact same debates have taken
> place in nearly every state and province. Many of us have all seen the
> rise and fall of various technologies and communication systems (email
> chains, websites, listservs, text alerts, etc.) but the thorny issues of
> what to report and when to report remain. I doubt that technology will
> ever eliminate this aspect of the debate and it's important we continue
> discussing the ethics of reporting rare birds.
>
>
>
> At the same time, there is a discussion underway about our methods of
> sharing information in a timely and efficient manner. When I started
> birding in Iowa the late 70's, we tried to create an organized phone tree
> with a paper chart showing who would call whom and so on. Of course, the
> communication chain often broke down when someone was out of town or just
> not at home to answer the phone. A lot of people didn't even have home
> answering machines back then and, of course, reporting a rare bird meant
> driving to the nearest pay phone and dropping in quarters to make a call.
> In the early 80s, we started a rare bird alert using an answering machine
> located in my parents' garage. Part of the trick was finding a machine
> that offered an extended outgoing message as many answering machines were
> limited to perhaps 30 seconds. We put the machine in my parents' garage
> because they lived in a small town where the local phone company offered a
> very low monthly phone bill for a second phone line. As technology
> changed, these recorded rare bird alerts using phone lines have essentially
> disappeared.
>
>
>
> In my view, for many birders, Facebook has become the rare bird
> communication platform of choice since it offers features like the ability
> to quickly post photos/recordings, a role for a moderator(s), presence on
> both millions of smartphones, laptops, and desktops, and the fact that
> millions of people are already on their Facebook accounts every day.
>
>
>
> A great example is the ABA Rare Bird Alert Facebook page (
> https://www.facebook.com/groups/ABArare/) which has grown tremendously
> (18,000 members.) It's amazing to watch as bird sightings are being
> updated in real time and you can even see groups of birders in the field
> using this page to communicate with each other in real time. The page has
> at least 7 administrators meaning the work of monitoring the flow of info
> is being shared and doesn't become a major burden. Heck, you can even
> livestream a video of your rare bird to the entire audience.
>
>
>
> One of the features of the (very helpful) COBIRDS Google Group is that the
> content is generated from the individual submissions of contributors. I
> also really like the compiled RBA report but the downside there is it
> requires a compiler or compilers willing to put in the major effort of
> gathering, collating, typing up, and posting of a report. As we've seen,
> it's going to be increasingly hard to find someone who is willing to put in
> all that work. Also, the effort of collating and posting a compiled RBA
> inevitably adds a time-delay to reports.
>
>
>
> This long missive is my suggestion that perhaps Colorado needs a dedicated
> Rare Bird Facebook Page with multiple moderators. Again, the ABA is using
> this model very successfully by having three separate Facebook pages. Each
> page has a different defined purpose (this is critical, I think):
>
>
>
> 1. A general Facebook page for the organization for non-urgent
> information and sharing of a general nature:
> https://www.facebook.com/birders/
>
>
>
> 2. An extremely successful page for helping people identify birds--this
> page has a very clearly defined purpose and has nearly 34,000 members!
> https://www.facebook.com/groups/whatsthisbird/ And, I understand a
> number of extreme rarities have been “discovered” from the postings of
> photos from contributors who couldn’t identify what they had
> seen/photographed.
>
>
>
> 3. The above-mentioned ABA Rare Bird Alert with about 18,000 members:
> https://www.facebook.com/groups/whatsthisbird/
>
>
>
> I imagine one of the points of view on this issue will be that not
> everyone uses (or wants to use) Facebook. But this has been true of every
> form of communication through the years. I’m sure at one time there were
> those who preferred to communicate by letter and not by telephone followed
> by those who preferred to communicate about rare birds by land line
> telephone and felt left behind by the cell phone followed by those who were
> happy with a call on their cell phone but objected to needing a smart
> phone, and so on. Consider also how many local bird club newsletters used
> to include a compilation of recent rare bird sightings in a printed/mailed
> newsletter. You don’t see that so much anymore.
>
>
>
> My suggestion to those who don’t wish to use Facebook is to recruit a
> Facebook-using birding friend who will give them a call when a rare bird is
> reported via Facebook. What do you want to bet that someday Facebook fades
> away as it’s replaced by yet another kind of technology.
>
>
>
> In conclusion, I think a Colorado Rare Bird Alert Facebook page could work
> really well. A Facebook page offers all the latest options in terms of
> social communication, immediacy, widespread use. The content would be
> user-generated (and not require a volunteer compiler), and the moderating
> responsibilities can be shared among a group of volunteers.
>
>
> Please don't think I am advocating for an end to either COBIRDS or the
> COBIRDS RBA report. Typically, where there are overlapping technologies
> and communication outlets, there is a lot of cross-posting across the
> platforms as a way to broaden the reach. And all of this is an evolution
> and not a revolution!
>
>
>
> I hope this helps to advance the discussion about how we can improve our
> collaboration and sharing about Colorado's fantastic birding
> opportunities.
>
>
>
> What do YOU think?
>
>
>
> Carl Bendorf
>
> Longmont
>
>
>
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