Date: 5/9/19 4:57 am
From: Paul Sullivan <paultsullivan...>
Subject: [obol] hurts my heart, too, and lengthy posts
Mary and Mary,

It hurts my heart, too, to see snarky personal jabs on OBOL. And I'm not a big fan of long-winded bird-nerd techy posts, either.

I started life aiming to be a priest, a pastoral role. The whole culture was aimed at service to others and leading them to connection with higher things. It was not about oneself. That was followed by a graduate program as a research scientist. That was about protocol and attention to detail. Those two threads are still in my life. The former leads me to want to help others see and appreciate birds and nature in general. The latter leads me to collect data.

When I came to birding, it was with a group of little old ladies in tennis shoes who were not driven by testosterone to be birding hotshots, but rather to make sure everyone saw all the birds. For the first 20 years of my birding life, I pursued birds with congenial people. If I ran into a big ego in the field, I could excuse myself and move away.

Here in Oregon we had a network of people who were on the bird-alert list to go see rare birds. We met personally in the field and were cordial. We wrote up our finds in Oregon Birds magazine and celebrated the people who contributed to the community.

The second 20 years of my birding life have been different.

We got the internet and people who weren't driven to go SEE the rare birds, came on line to DISCUSS birds. People whose day job was not ornithology showed off great knowledge of ornithological detail. People argued. Voices got testy. People will say things online that they would never say to one's face.

OBOL is a general forum with 1400 subscribers, yet a large volume of the content is driven by a few voices. I believe is should be a forum for sightings, not arguments. I don't think the vast majority of subscribers want to see or hear testy arguments. I think those should have an outlet, but it should be somewhere else.

While a slice of Oregon birders have moved on to eBird as their place to get bird sightings, there are still a good slice of us who do not find that avenue useful. I want OBOL to continue to be the forum where people can share bird sightings, directions, and updates as we pursue --and help others pursue -- the birds we love.

Good birding, everyone,

Paul Sullivan

Subject: Ebird tutorial and lengthy posts
Date: Wed May 8 2019 10:37 am
From: dmarc-noreply AT


Also, I'm intimidated by these long-winded bird-nerd techy posts and the overwhelming number of them. Never see that on Tweeters or frankly any other list I'm on. It would be nice if there was another list for these kind of conversations and just a friendly regular OBOL for bird sightings.

Venting complete. :-)

Mary M. Reese

Subject: hurts my heart
Date: Wed May 8 2019 1:14 am
From: springazure1 AT

Hi friends, I got caught up with OBOL posts tonight, and I have to say it really hurts my heart when discussions include snarky personal jabs (the latest example being the discussion about using X instead of estimating numbers on eBird lists). Perhaps I misread people's intent, because it's notoriously easy to misinterpret electronic communications without accompanying body language and other visual or aural cues, but really. Be nice. We are all on the same page when it comes to the big picture of loving and appreciating the amazing world of birds and the need to ensure their survival in the world we humans have created. Right?


I do love and appreciate all the ways in which OBOL´┐Żers lift up and advance the cause of birds and birding.

Mary Garrard

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