Participation Rules

SBCOBIRDING at is an open forum for reporting rarities and discussing the birds of Santa Barbara County, California.

Please review the following in order to participate:


Important links:

SBCOBIRDING homepage and message archive:

To post a new message send email to:

Santa Barbara County Birding (county birding website):

A few helpful links are found at the bottom of every group message you receive. You can access your subscription, contact an owner, reply to a message, or unsubscribe from these links. If you are new to you might explore some of the additional options available to you at the main website. Here you can change your personal email settings or post a new topic directly from the website. Once subscribed to SBCOBIRDING you will begin receiving messages as soon they are posted. The message archive is open to the public at any time. If you experience problems associated with your subscription you might try searching the Help link for information at or contact an owner.




  • The list owner(s)/moderator(s) reserve the right to create and/or change group rules. They will also moderate and/or remove members at any time at their discretion when it is deemed to be in the best interest of the group as a whole when rules have been routinely violated, or when complaints have been received from other members. The integrity of the group and relevance of its communications are the primary goals of the list owners.
  • When posting messages include your full name and city at the end of each post. Consider setting up a signature in your email program for this
  • Every message must have an appropriate Subject in your message title that accurately reflects the contents of the topic. If the thread drifts, please change the subject accordingly. If the thread is still on topic, please don’t alter the Subject in any way. Doing so will make it difficult for readers to follow the thread in the archives.
  • Respect private property rights, restricted or sensitive habitat. Be conscious of private property when reporting rare birds to the group. Discussion should not invite or encourage trespassing onto private lands or entering sensitive habitat areas to chase birds. Violators may be banned from the list.
  • Sensitive Species Concerns. Birds at very specific locations such as owls at discovered roost sites or threatened nesting species can be stressed or harmed by birders and photographers. Publicly announcing these locations to the group should be avoided, which includes posting messages with eBird checklist links that contain this information. To protect birds that can be negatively impacted by visiting birders and photographers it is incumbent upon everyone participating to withhold detailed information about exact locations. Consider not reporting these at all. Be aware that group messages are read by a wide audience beyond those who are members of the sbcobirding group.
  • All rare bird sightings reported without documentation such as a physical description or a photograph should be considered "unverified".
  • Please keep the focus of your message on birds and birding in Santa Barbara County only. Single announcements of rare birds just outside the county are acceptable providing they represent sightings that would be of interest to the entire group. Follow-up discussion should be directed to the appropriate county list where the sighting originated.
  • Be courteous and friendly at all times. Messages should be non-confrontational. No flame wars.
  • The use of profanity will not be tolerated. Violators will be banned from the group without exception.
  • There is zero tolerance for unsolicited email (spam). Spammers will be immediately banned. Should the rare individual sneak in and spam the list please refrain from posting a reply.
  • All new subscribers will have their first message(s) moderated. Appropriate and on-topic messages will move new members to an unmoderated status. Consider following or observing the group for a time before participating.
  • Don’t report email virus warnings or Internet hoaxes to the group. Please keep your antivirus software up to date to prevent a hijacked email account from sending out unwanted messages.
  • Don’t send test messages. Email distribution through is almost instantaneous, but note that there can be slow periods due to high-volume Internet traffic, downtime for scheduled maintenance, or problems with your ISP. On rare occasions, your subscription can go into “bounce” mode where is unsuccessful in delivering messages to you. Your subscription can be temporarily placed “on hold” automatically until your email issues are resolved. Please contact an owner directly if you are experiencing problems sending or receiving messages.
  • Photo attachments will be permitted only for documenting rarities or when needing help with identification. Photo files will be resized automatically by due to limited account space. Owners may delete photos at any time at their discretion. Please see the Photo Attachment Policy message here:
  • When you “Reply To” a message it will be sent to the author of the message only. Use “Reply To All” if you have a response to share with the entire group, or post a new message with the same Subject to maintain the thread. You can also use the reply link at the bottom of your received email message.
  • In your reply avoid including the entire previous message to which you are responding by trimming the text to the minimum necessary for you to make your point. This includes the signature of the previous poster and the various group links at the bottom. This will help to preserve valuable archive space and make the message easier to follow.
  • Discussions about pet birds or cats versus wild birds are not suitable group topics.
  • Discussions about bird hunting and firearms are not suitable group topics.
  • Don’t use this list to sell personal items. You may attach a link to your signature in order to direct people to your personal or commercial website.
  • Discussions about politics, conservation, and environmental issues are not permitted. Although these topics may be of interest to many birders and relevant to bird conservation, they fall outside the focus of this group and often lead to flame wars due to varying opinions or perceived "misuse" of the group by other participants. There are other lists available for these topics. As mentioned above, attaching a link to your signature is an acceptable way of directing readers to other websites related to bird conservation.
  • If there is any doubt about the subject matter of a topic you would like to post please contact an owner first.

All participants of this group are encouraged to follow the ABA Code of Birding Ethics- a set of principles promoting the welfare of birds and their environment and birder conduct. Read the ABA Code of Birding Ethics here:

This listserve is open to everyone regardless of your knowledge or skill level. Novice birders are encouraged to ask questions of the many experienced members of this group. “Where-can-I-find…” and “How-do-I-identify…” are suitable questions to ask. Sbcobirding has become a source for reporting rarities, but this list is intended to be a forum for discussing birding in general and bird identification in Santa Barbara County. Feel free to generate discussion.

There are many birders from outside the area who monitor rare bird reports from this and several other discussion groups. Messages are often linked through other websites that archive local listserve message boards. Some may travel great distances to see what has been reported so please be aware of the potential harm caused by false claims and misinformation. If you are unsure about what you have seen simply say so. This places the onus on the reader to determine if a report might be valid or worth spending time and money to look for it.

Please be specific when reporting unusual birds by naming the city or town and describe cross streets if necessary. Assume that people have never been there before (being mindful of private property). Your abilities as a birder are not generally questioned, but verification of any claimed rarity is always best. It is a common and necessary practice to verify a reported rare bird no matter who makes the claim. Hopefully, your bird will remain long enough for others to see, but be prepared to describe your find in detail to the group. The California Bird Records Committee (CBRC) website contains the complete list of all state birds including “Review Species” requiring documentation and review and has a rare bird report form available for submitting to the CBRC:

In an effort to solicit accurate information special attention should be given to certain birds reported to the local listserve or submitted to eBird from Santa Barbara County. You can read through the County Reporting List at the following web page:

Using the Group Owner link at the website please contact one of the list owners below if you have questions or comments. Thanks for your interest and we look forward to your participation.

Jamie M. Chavez

Guy Tingos

Wim van Dam