I agree with every word you wrote. I think that one source of this problem is that eBird was not initially created to keep ABA, State, big year, etc lists, although it is certainly used for that now. All the eBird people need to do is to add a means to designate a bird on a daily list as not part of a personal tally. That should be a small change to the eBird program but it would improve the eBird data collection because people would not hesitate to click Mute Swan on a day list. We’ll have Mike Webster from the Lab of O at the fall AOS meeting, so I’ll be sure to bend his ear about that (and also about some county listing issues). We might also have Chris Wood as the Winter meeting speaker—which would give us an even more direct channel to the eBird administration.
The Ballard Lake Mute Swans are probably the toughest sort of eBird challenge (I agree they do not belong on state lists if one wants to play by the rules). I didn’t know that birds on that lake used to be owned and maintained. Since 2016 when I first went to see them they appear completely feral and at least one breeding pair puts out a half dozen young each summer. Where are all those feral swans going? This is where eBird lists are really valuable to track the rise and fall of populations.
Like Larry, what I give as my state bird total or my year total is not exactly the same as what appears on eBird (because of mute swans and munias). But I get it, everyone looks at those numbers. Geoff Hill, Auburn
(PS. I tried to post this message as a "reply" to Greg but it didn't seem to work. Sorry if it comes up twice.)