Date: 6/2/19 3:53 pm From: Phil Davis <pdavis...> Subject: The "Voice" shuts down was: Re: [MDBirding] DC Area, 5/28/2019
I want to share my appreciation for the efforts of the Voice of the Naturalist (VON) crew over the many years of operation.
I saw Lydia at the MOS Convention this weekend and personally thanked her for her efforts, but I want to make sure that my thanks were extended to all of the others that worked on the Voice over the years, up to the present.
For all of you young "whippersnappers" out there, (voice) recorded rare bird alerts were our "eBird alerts" of the day.
Let's reflect ...
First (after the telephone was invented <grin>), there were club "phone trees" to spread the word of rarities ...
Then compiled voice message-input rare bird alerts (like the VON) came on-line where a compiler prepared and recorded a transcript of sighting reports. Observers left voice messages and periodically (usually once a week, but for some hot spot places, more frequently, even daily) the messages were transcribed by a volunteer and recorded on a voice answering machine ...
Then, out west, they started using "bird boxes" which were computer-controlled voice recording and playback systems where you added your voice message report (if you knew the password) and others could call-in and listen to all of the daily reports ...
Then, dial-in modem-based "bulletin boards" (BBS) came in during the early-mid 1990s where alerts could be posted and downloaded "in real time" ...
Then, in the late 1990s, email listservers sped up the BBS service and made it more accessible ...
eBird started up in 2002, with eBird alerts following a few years later ...
And, recall that the iPhone was not available until 2007!
So, in the "old days," when you planned a trip across the country to chase rarities, you have to be a master of communications logistics (what was available, where, what phone numbers to use, etc.).
Over the years, our area VON provided and filled-in lots of details of regional rarity reports for our records committee database.
I was hoping that the entire archives of the VON could be captured and archived, but I now understand that this is not possible, since the older transcripts no longer exist. Sigh ...
My personal oldest email copy of the VON (from when the transcript was typed up and posted to Norm Saunders' MDOsprey listserver) is from 4 Jan 2000 (compiled by Lydia and transcribed by Steve Cordle). It featured the following:
Top birds this week are NORTHERN LAPWING in DE; KELP GULL* and NORTHERN SHRIKE* in MD; and RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, TOWNSEND'S WARBLER, and HARRIS' SPARROW in VA.
Other birds of interest include: waterfowl, raptors including GOLDEN EAGLE and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, WILD TURKEY, KING RAIL, gulls, SHORT-EARED OWLS, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, sparrows including LARK SPARROW, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, and SNOW BUNTING.
Ah, nostalgia just isn't what it used to be ...
Thanks, again, to all who worked on the "Voice" !
On Tuesday, May 28, 2019, Lydia Schindler <lydia13621...> wrote:
Hotline: Voice of the Naturalist
Coverage: MD/DC/VA/central and southern DE/WV panhandle
Reports, comments, questions: <voice...>
Compiler: Lydia Schindler
Sponsor: Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central
Atlantic States (independent of NAS)
Transcriber: Steve Cordle
NOTICE: For more than 40 years the Voice of the Naturalist has
provided DC area birders with a weekly update of notable
sightings. Initially the Voice was a unique resource, and each
Tuesday report was eagerly awaited and devoured. Today the
birding community has access to an abundance of
information**, often instantaneous, and it is time: THE VOICE
OF THE NATURALIST IS RETIRING WITH THIS REPORT.
We thank all of you for your many contributions and your support, and
we wish you very good birding!
=================================================== Phil Davis, Secretary MD/DC Records Committee 2549 Vale Court Davidsonville, Maryland 21035 USA 301-261-0184 <pdavis...> ===================================================
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