Some of you will remember, but doubtless none as well as I, what happened
two years ago today.  At [Thu] Jul 13 15:17:09 on that day, this list was
born, created, launched. A good deal of preliminary work had gone into
preparing and as soon as the approval was made and the list became a
reality, I mailed many individual invitations.  Nothing was sent to any of
the then existing Florida lists in consideration of leaving it to
individuals as it would have been rude to post to the existing lists without
first submitting the notices to the listowners.  So it was that a mere two
years ago today, the only Listserv(R) bird mailing list for the State of
Florida became a fact, FLORIDABIRDS-L.  I named it that on purpose, to show
it is about birds.  Some lists include "birders" in their name, and that is
fine.   But it was my intention to show the list was about that one thing,
Florida Birds.

To repeat for those of you not around at that time, the bird world in
Florida had been having a hard time.  The several listbot lists, four or
five of them, through no fault of their own, got worse and worse about
delays and lost messages.   I was subscribed to a couple of them and it was
no fun with the messages being delayed ever longer and more often.  Through
the Spring Migration of 2000, the birds were often gone before anyone could
get the word.  I kept wondering why someone with all of the people in
Florida didn't start a Listserv(R) mailing list, and then I decided I would
since otherwise apparently it wasn't going to happen. Yet, I knew people who
were attached to their listbot lists and later I asked the listowners to
continue although Birdbrains and EastBirders offered to disband.  I still
believe that was a good decision, since there are those who wish to get
information close to home, and knowing that there would be local stuff that
wouldn't be appropriate at the Statewide level.

The crossposting was so horrendous between all of those listbot lists, that
believe it was Rex Rowan who asked that it stop when this list showed up.
Later,  I would ask that the more unusual sightings be reported both to
FLBIRDS and to the local list.  That ended up working quite well and helped
round out the reporting areas.  Still no bird list is refused on this list.
As always, not everyone understood or cared, as at least one report of a
rare bird in one area was reported only in another area, so that neither the
local area nor FLBIRDS, got the message.  But nothing is perfect.  In most
cases, it has worked wonderfully well in the sharing of information.

I still wish we could get more information from the Panhandle area.  One can
times envision a big blank space over there, but I understand that they
have, because of propinquity, probably, developed a strong connection with
Alabama birders.  When I look at the map, I think it is sad about Alabama,
what with Florida having all that wonderful coastline -- if Alabama didn't
have that great migrant trap at Dauphin Island, it could be much worse.  But
they have a personal treasure in Bob Sargent who has sat on my porch and
banded one of the early Rufous Hummingbirds in the State of Georgia.  And of
course, my own Georgia, with only 100 miles of coastline (more or less),
could have easily used some more.  But we all have to play the hand dealt to
us (if I had located 19 miles farther south, I would be a Floridian!), and
hope to get along by sharing.  No one has the copyright on birds and their
very freedom should illustrate that to us.  So it is that in the breakup of
the land mass, who is the big winner, when it comes to (as the real estate
people say) location, location, location?  Why, Florida, of course.

A great advantage to our baby list and its subscribers was that Kurt
Radamaker contacted me and offered to share the website he had previously
used for Birdbrains to be used for this list. It was after the announcement
Birdbrains would be willing not to continue.   It has been a very happy
coalition.  Many thanks, Kurt, as the fantastic pictures of Florida birds
makes it all worthwhile on

I brought with me what I believed then, and still believe today, to be a
noble vision -- that a bird list could be run exclusively for information
about birds, and  not all the countless adjunct related things that gobble
up so much space.  This space would be needed when the list got busy enough
to do justice to all of the large number of Florida birds here on a regular
basis, plus the exotic migrants that come so often because of the unique
location of this State.  People here are able to see many because of 1,350
miles+/- of coastline, with many places jutting out that are even more
attractive to birds, a well-known one being the area at and around Ft.
DeSoto (St. Petersburg).    There is a really active group of people there
who have been generous about sharing their sightings between Birdbrains and

When I got to know things better, I found there was not only division among
the different parts of the state, but also in come cases a real animosity.
Nothing is perfect but there is much more unanimity among all parts of the
State than was even dreamed of two years ago.  And there was a misconception
by a few about what a mailing list is about.  Most have come to see that
because there are almost miracles that can be achieved by Listserv(R), a
trade name for the best of all software used for the purpose, yet if one
used it from a university, there were certain limitations.  A very minor
part of the list misunderstood the purpose of the list and assumed that it
was for the birders, their various likes and dislikes and related interests.
And by its very nature,
Listserv(R) is barred from meeting some of these people needs.  On the other
hand, to open it to what everyone wants would result in such a hodgepodge
that it would become, as in some places, an arm of clubs for announcements
over and over again, for posting employment notices, not for birds, but for
people, and you have had only a taste of that because it was stemmed from
beginning.  And for the most part understood.

Surprisingly, I found that a part of academia (especially, some of the bird
observation recorders mostly composed of academics) did not seem to care
much for all the information (of course, with some factoids) pouring in, and
the problems of dealing with a deluge when they had only had a trickle
before. It resulted in their reverting to the old method of  not taking
reports from what they called amusingly the internet, meaning the bird
mailing lists, and going back to their former ways of requiring snail mail
reports. I somewhat disagree with this opinion because many very good
sightings are reported on the mailing lists that never get to being
transcribed and snail-mailed to the collectors.  Expressed in a different
way, it is a mystery to me why words on a screen that can be printed out to
hard copy would be any different from words on a screen on Word or any other
software program printed out and mailed at 37cents a message minimum. would
be superior.  But then, some, although not all, of the people who require
the lists to be snail-mailed don't have a rapport with computers.

Neither do many (but again not all, thankfully) of the highest educated as a
rule report birds. Those who do are especially valuable, of course.  Some, I
suppose, don't get out in field that much, like me.  But I was pleased last
Spring to attend a lecture at the Georgia Ornithological Society spring
meeting presented by Dr. Ken Meyer of the University of Florida who spoke in
depth about his program at UF to find information about the travels,
nesting, habits, etc., of the Swallow-tailed Kite.  The results already
accumulated are fantastic.  He was hoping to get at least 12 birds wired for
radio contact this year. Cheri Pierce has been reporting on that project,
and I hope we can get a follow up.  After the meeting, I spoke with him and
he said he would be glad to pass the information on to Cheri so she could
pass it on to the list.   Perhaps it is a little too early but I am anxious
to hear how it is going.  (I will add a personal note that I was sorry not
to attend the FOS meeting which was held at the same time, because of
leading a field trip to the Blackwater Wood Stork Colony which I had the
great good fortune to "discover" back in the '80's at a time when it had 200
nests, eventually to peak out at 509 nests when the drought began to take
its toll.)

It should be realized that the large majority of people on this list have at
least one job, some more, and have only limited time to spend actually in
the field thus limiting their ability to bring in those sightings we so

I am proud that many people report from areas that have been under-reported
traditionally, such as with David Dees and the Burrowing Owls he found close
to Mayo.  How many unusual birds have been reported from that area.  Not too
many, so keep up the good work, David.  People have enjoyed them who never
would have known about them!  Continue to keep those eyes open.

David Simpson has resumed posting about Florida birds, and we were all proud
of his accomplishment last year.  I was been able to crisscross the state
with him, filling in many blank places.  I make a mental map with pins and
red yarn tying them together.  That has been my goal in originally starting
this list in the state I have done most of my birding in.

And of course, there are all the different attitudes to deal with; some
people think we have too many posts and sign off, while others wish for more
bird posts.  Only yesterday I had a nice message saying that several lifers
would not have been found had it not been for this list, which, of course,
were made possible by your participation.  No list can exist without
participation and you have been generous with others, especially with the
people from far-away areas.  People will always come to Florida, and some of
them will be birders, adding to our lore with their trip reports which we
need.  Jack Dozier just thanked Earl Horn of Georgia for locating the
Red-footed Booby.  Earl found it on a one-day trip to the Dry Tortugas as
you will remember and was kind enough to post about his trip. Much money
flows into the State because the birders come, and that is not to be
ignored.  It is especially appreciated when they post about their sightings
as Earl generously did.  So many become inured to the often seen birds in
their own area, not that Red-footed Booby is often seen.  Still all of the
birds on the list referenced in the welcome message (copy on the website)
prepared by Wes Biggs and Kurt Radamaker, should be reported.  There will be
some additions to the list soon that has not been updated since it was
originally posted.

I think it has been easier for me to deal with some problems because many I
have never met the individuals and am not influenced by the politics
surrounding them.  Some people have never been disagreed with in their whole
lives, apparently,  like the cowboys of the west shoot before they count how
the many parts of a list interact.

To my consternation, I have found that people can be rude, and
some think I have been rude when I have only been matter-of-fact. I
do like to be forthright and not waste time, with a caveat as to time on my
annual messages.  I will not tolerate anyone not using the bad judgment to
be impolite to me and calling me bad names, either on or off the list.
Tempers should be controlled.  This is not the Torah, nor the Bible, nor the
Koran nor any other such thing; it is a mere birdlist.  Disagreements can be
discussed in an even-handed manner, and if not, discontinued.  This happens
on every list, but usually about the people who are the "I-winters" wanting
to prevail over the "I-want-something-else."

The new personal information derived from people when they subscribe and
want posting privileges has been very helpful.  And it has served its
purpose very well.  More of you have been from Florida than I would have
thought considering that there were so many already.  Some people are out of
state, of course.  I have had the information to call people about problem
areas and in most cases have worked things out quite easily.  And in the one
case that it didn't work, I learned a lot about the person, so either way it
works.  I call at my own expense, and it is for an important reason, or I
don't call.

We still have some subscribers who have been here from DAY ONE (yes, other
than me) and some who are still here but who changed their addresses and
lost the record of their original subscription thereby.  People have learned
to use the bottom banner where just by clicking on the mailto:  address and
writing the message given there, one can quickly set to nomail. Changing the
word to mail, works for going back on regular mail.  The other banner
information has been used as well.  If any of you don't understand any of
it, write me and I will explain.  I did explain it when I first added it,
but some of you have joined since then.

Now finally for the statistics, at the end of the first 6 months, 368
members, at the end of the first year 476, and the end of the second year,
today's number is 670.  Frank Leonard became the 670th subscriber
last evening, and Noel Wamer just missed being the last poster of the
year (he was last year), losing out to Robert Paxson and with the winner
being Jack Taylor who was the very last one for the second year with
Burrowing Owl being the last bird.  For the start of the third year,
Jack Dozier was the first, with shorebirds and his and John Murphy's
survey of the famous Alligator Pt.  (I have a friend in The Netherlands
whose one ambition is to come to the US and go to Alligator Pt.  Must
be the name!)

I hope it becomes easier for everyone, and we can escape the
"terrible-twos".  I am sorry some people have never understood that there
really is a reason behind all of the policies listed in the policy
statement.  I didn't mention NFL earlier which has a list that has been
particularly supportive. Thanks to all of you, too.

And to you loners out there who rarely write, or even if you don't write at
all, I know you are getting something from the list which is meant to bring
all of Florida bird lovers together.

Remember, FLORIDA BIRDS are on-topic; and everything else is off-topic
EXCEPT my listowner statements and announcements from FOS.    If you wish to
post anything that is not about birds, be sure to write me first and I will
tell you if you may or may not.  And read the policy statement.  People tend
to forget something so simple as the policy of this list.

Please remember that if you have any announcement you wish to make, write me
about it first and I will let you know whether it is satisfactory or not.

For the coming year, I hope the new list [log in to unmask] will be
included in the cooperative Florida family of lists.  I am particularly glad
that the ability to get news about pelagic trips will be more available than
in the past , and that participation with FLORIDABIRDS-L about what is seen
on those trips will be shared with us.

This has been a long message, and if you have any responses, I will be glad
to have them, directly to me as usual.  I am pleased that you all have been
so cooperative in following that policy.  I pay attention to what you write.
I want you all to feel good and comfortable about writing about Florida
birds, wherever they may be found.

If I haven't mentioned your name, it doesn't mean that you are not important
to this list.  At they say at the Oscars, I can't name everyone (and then of
course *they* do).  I would need a list of 607 people and that is 45K long
when I get it from the review file.  Thank you all, nevertheless!

Looking forward to an even more productive year upcoming!

With great, good wishes!


Barbara Passmore
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