I'm thanking those of you who sent responses to a few RFIs recently and
including a mention of the birds seen as a result of them. I'm posting to both
lists as I've seen some who answered my post to birdbrains have switched
exclusively to FloridaBirds while I'm not sure of others. Sorry for the cross
posting. After my signature I will include a few thoughts on local verses state

Thanks to all who have recently responded to my RFIs for information for my
friend's visit from Illinois and about the Azalea caterpillar.

My friend chose to make one trip through Bell Glade to the Keys from (7/24 to
7/28). Unfortunately, the field with the whistling ducks was dried up and he
didn't get to see them. He stopped by the university property only to find out
that the ducks were there the day before but not on that day. He also did not
get to see the kite. He did get to see a couple anis (I don't recall
specifically where he said he saw them). There were three Gull-billed Terns in
approximately the same place they were reported (I believe they were over a
dried field).

The Keys were much more productive with 2 Mangrove Cuckoos on the electrical
wires at Sugarloaf Key. One Roseate Tern was still with the Least Terns at the
County Building on Marathon Key. At least three Antillian Nighthawks were with
Common Nighthawks at the Marathon Airport seen around 8 PM when there was still
enough light to see them fairly well. There were no shortages of White-crowned
Pigeons on the Keys but still none that would pose in the open for him.

Although the birds were few and far between, they were of quality so he was
happy. He did comment on the heat and humidity and said he understands why so
little is reported from this time of year. I think he's going to restrict his
future visits to March and April. The rest of his vacation will be family time
inside air-conditioning.

The Azalea Caterpillars filled up and moved on before I came to a conclusion on
what to do with them. The azaleas are already making a comeback.

Thanks again for all your information,

Steve Backes
Valrico, FL (Hillsborough Co.)
[log in to unmask]


FloridaBirds Vs. Birdbrains

I believe most people agree that there is a place for both state and local
lists. The problem is defining what gets posted where. The Florida birding
community is made up of a variety of different people with different levels of
knowledge different wants from a list group. Some want to wade through every
post of information searching for knowledge on many levels while others want to
read a few posts to see what birds are in their area.

As knowledge of a statewide listgroup spreads, the numbers of subscribers will
only grow. For this to be a success, it needs as many contributing members as
possible and they need to be happy with the content of the list. I believe this
means the posting needs to be on topic and not too large a volume to follow.
Searching through 300 e-mails a day to find the post on a Black-throated Gray
Warbler sighting may be more frustrating than missing the bird. I've been on a
couple of lists that generated that kind of volume.

I believe the problem of the Black-throated Gray Warbler sighting being reported
to the state list will not be a problem if cross-posting is limited by defining
the topics for each list. Keep a reason for being subscribed to both (or more)
lists, and a number of people will continue to be subscribed to both. When an
exceptional report (from Wes' list) shows up on any list, someone will cross
post it to the others (as all lists will include "Rare Birds"). I don't think
anyone will object to a few cross posts regarding a Black-throated Gray Warbler
in Florida.

As a way to include some discussion on locally common birds on FloridaBirds,
allow RFIs to locations in the state. This would allow for a person who is not
subscribed to BirdBrains to ask about birds in the Tampa area and receive
information without needing to subscribe to Birdbrains. Someone subscribed to
both lists could then forward a few posts from Birdbrains to FloridaBirds or an
original post could be composed. This would prompt occasional "local"
discussions that would allow for all subscribers to see what's "out there".

As far as the reliability of the listserv verses the listbot, all servers go
down sometimes. I admit that Listbot has had more trouble lately than most lists
I've been on but, in the past I noticed the LSU listserv (my only listserv
experience) going down around the same time and for the same duration as other
lists from other non-listserv servers). I believe there will always need to be
some word of mouth, and the birding community in Florida will do it's best to
spread the word when it comes to a rare sighting. The more lists that are
available, the more likely we are to reach everyone interested.

Another piece of this puzzle is the inclusion of non-birding topics that were
accepted on Birdbrains (i.e.: Butterflies and other critters, gardening for
wildlife, etc.). I assume these are not open topics for FloridaBirds. Birdbrains
was developed as a local discussion group that revolved around birds but was not
exclusive. It grew into a state list because there wasn't one available. I
believe Birdbrains still has a place as that local, more diverse list. On the
other hand, if the main goal of the list owner is met by FloridaBirds, someone
else may need to take over that responsibility.

Just a few of my thoughts