Birding hotlines and listservs have been established to provide a venue for birders to quickly share sightings and to discuss bird identification and other birding related topics. The top national services are referenced below. There are many regional and state systems. Visit the state based information section for local hotlines and listservs.
NORTH AMERICA RARE BIRD ALERT
NARBA is a a subscription reporting service on rare birds occurring in the continental United States, Alaska and Canada. The Houston Audubon Society sponsors NARBA. Subscription fees help support the society’s extensive refuge system on the Upper Texas Coast.
Initially a phone-based system, now primarily web and email based. Reports are updated several times a day. Current fee is $35.00 year.
NATIONAL BIRDING HOTLINE COOPERATIVE
The National Birding Hotline Cooperative (NBHC) was set up in 1990 to use the Internet and World Wide Web to share North American birding information. It is a group of LISTSERV ™ mail lists which run on a computer named listserv.arizona.edu.
This document provides information about the BIRDEAST, BIRDCNTR, BIRDWEST and BIRD_RBA mailing lists, which are at the core of the NBHC. The purpose of these lists is to rapidly collect and disseminate texts (transcripts) of North American Rare Bird Alerts, also known as RBAs or hotlines. Many of these Alerts originated as telephone hotlines. NBHC contributors phoned the alert number and wrote down the contents, then posted the text on the e-mail list. Today, many alerts are primarily distributed and used electronically rather than by telephone, and some skip the telephone format completely. Texts or transcripts are formatted by the volunteer contributors and posted to the listserv (email@example.com), which re-distributes them to all subscribers.
No discussion is allowed on BIRDEAST, BIRDCNTR, BIRDWEST and BIRD_RBA. Another list, BIRDCHAT, is available for discussion of birds and birding on a continental level, and many states, provinces, and regions have their own discussion groups. Birders can join as many of these mailing lists as they choose; there is no cost or obligation. It is good karma to “pay back” the system by reporting your sightings to local hotline compilers.