We're glad you've joined us. To send a message to the list just use your email program and send a message to the group at firstname.lastname@example.org. To reply to the group, select REPLY ALL in your email program. To reply only to the sender, select REPLY. If you get a daily digest, please do not reply to the digest, but rather, compose your own message.
We would enjoy hearing a little bit about you if you feel like letting us know. If not, that's fine too. We're glad you're here.
Get acquainted with birds and birding in our area at www.umpquabirds.org. Download the Seasonal Occurrence Charts from this page to learn what birds you can expect in our area at different times of year!
Enjoy, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
Owner, Umpqua Birds
TECHNICAL STUFF (to make sure things work well for you):
Put Umpqua Birds in Your Address Book or Contacts List. You can send messages to the group by addressing your message to email@example.com. If you put this in your address list in your email program (e.g. Outlook, Gmail) or in the contacts list in your smart phone, you can just select the name or address and compose your email.
Individual Emails or Daily Digests (or Vacation Mode). When you first sign up, your preferences are set to send you every email that is posted to the group, individually. In the beginning that is usually the best way to go. If at some point the number of e-mails gets to be too many per day, you can go back to the Umpqua Birds email list page (umpquabirds.org/emaillist.htm) and change your mail settings (see instructions on that page). For a more complete list of settings, go to the freelists web login page for Umpqua Birds at www.freelists.org/cgi-bin/lsg2.cgi/l=umpquabirds, log in, and then click on the "change settings" button. Or, just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 541-670-1984.
Photos: To share photos with others in the group, place your photo somewhere on the web, then copy the URL to the site (the web address in the address bar of your browser) and paste that into your email to the group. Some of the most common and easy ways to put your photos on the web include flickr (www.flickr.com) and Picasa Web Albums (picasaweb.google.com), but there are others. If you are not able to get your photos to an internet site, feel free to send the photo to me (email@example.com) and I will place the photo either on the Umpqua Birds website (umpquabirds.org) or on my flickr page (www.flickr.com/photo/matthewghunter). All attachments, including photos, are automatically stripped by the server. We do this because some people do not have speedy internet and it bogs down their email. Placing your photos at an online location allows easy viewing for those who wish to view them.
If you have any questions about any of this, give me a call at 541-670-1984, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GUIDELINES FOR POSTING TO UMPQUA BIRDS
Following are some tips that will help readers get the most out of the messages you send to the group:
If reporting an observation of one or more bird species, tell us where you were and approximately what time (at least morning, afternoon, etc.). Usually, the more detail the better, and over time you will learn what places most people are familiar with and what places are little known and benefit from additional description or directions.
If you write a longish message in a narrative/paragraph format, CAPITALIZE bird names so that readers can quickly look through the text to find what birds are mentioned.
If you report a list of birds and you know that one or more are unusual or rare sightings, it is helpful to the reader for these to be highlighted in some way. This can be done by CAPITALIZING only those unusual species, or using asterisks or something like that to draw attention to those species. If you don't know if any particular species are unusual, don't worry about it.
If you want to bring immediate attention to a post of a rare bird, you can put "RBA" (which is an acronym for Rare Bird Alert) in the subject heading, either by itself or with the species observed or the location or any of the above. For example, "Subject: RBA: B&W Warbler at Clev Rapids."
Finish your message with your name and town/area where you live so we know who you are. For example:
Topics that are expected to comprise the bulk of posts to this group:
Reports of species detected during a birding excursion
Reports of species coming to your bird feeder (especially changes or unusual ones)
Reports of a new or good place to go birding
Observations regarding behavior, vocalizations, or other habits of birds
Discussions of bird habitats, ranges, and seasonal occurrence
Questions/inquiries/discussions regarding where/when to find a particular species, how to identify certain species, identification of photos.
Requests for companions on bird outings
Topics that are okay on an occasional basis:
Notification and/or short discussion of events, volunteer opportunities, and conservation activities related to birds
Discussion of local conservation issues affecting birds or bird habitat (detailed discussions should be continued offline or within another discussion group)
Observations of other types of wildlife/organisms or natural history (okay any time as long as it is associated with a presentation of bird sightings)
Reports of birds from outside the reporting area, from a trip by a local resident birder (this is because part of the function of the group is to form relationships among the local birding community)
Reviews of bird books, apps for smart phones, binocs and scopes, e-bird, and other technology related to birds and birding
Notice of bird-related books or equipment for sale
Topics that should be avoided:
Benefits or evils of housecats
Recipes for starlings
Shooting Barred Owls
Political and religious topics
Anything else that gets some people emotionally heated. These should be taken to a forum more suited to the topic.
Things we shouldn't have to say:
Refrain from negative or derogatory comments of others
Refrain from vulgar or obscene language
Tasteful bird humor is good, especially when it's raining hard and cold and there aren't many birds to see.
If you do not live in the reporting area, do not tell us about your trips to places outside the reporting area. Find an appropriate group to share your observations with.
If you do not live in the reporting area, do not offensively question or deride the reports of others; leave quality control to local members of the group.
Other "Best Practices":
Answering Questions from the Group: For the most part, if a question is asked of you or the group on the group email list, and it as an appropriate and interesting question, it benefits the group to answer the question publicly, replying to the whole group. Remember, if one person has the question, most likely others do too. The time to answer privately is when the asker requests that you respond offline or privately, or when the question is "off-topic," meaning it is not one of the main topics that the discussion group was created for. Questions about the location of a birding site, more details on a sighting, how to identify a particular species, and the like, would greatly benefit the group if answered publicly.
Refound (or not found) birds: If someone reports a bird to the list, and you go look for it, please tell us when you were there and whether or not you found the bird. This information helps others on the list to know the latest information on the bird of interest. Negative information (i.e., bird not found) is just as important to members of the group as reporting that the bird was found.
OBOL: If you live in the Umpqua Birds reporting area, and you are a member of Oregon Birders On Line (OBOL), you may wonder, "What should I post to 'Umpqua Birds' and what should I post to OBOL?" This is completely up to you, but here are my suggestions. Post all local observations/questions to Umpqua Birds, and CC things to OBOL that have more statewide significance. For example, if you've seen a Nashville Warbler in early spring and none have been reported on OBOL yet, you might CC to OBOL. If you've just seen a Crested Auklet at Winchester Bay, call someone first, then post to both lists or ask someone to post for you. If you are not subscribed to OBOL, no worries, someone on the Umpqua Birds list will forward more significant sightings to OBOL.