NBHC Home Page

A. NBHC Lists: what are they?

B. Subscription Management Quick Reference
How to subscribe, unsubscribe, and turn your mail off and on

C. Digests, Archives, and other services

D. Contributors' Guidelines
Procedures for contributing to the NBHC and definition of suggested standard format

E. Contacts
Please read this document first. If it doesn't answer your question, send e-mail to one of the volunteers listed at the end.


This document contains background information on the BIRDEAST, BIRDCNTR, BIRDWEST, and BIRD_RBA internet mailing lists. For transcription formats and guidelines for these lists, see the NBHC Contributors Guidelines. Other lists in the extended NBHC "Birdxxxx" family of lists are BirdChat, <=a href=""> BirdBand, and Frontiers of Bird Identification.

A. NBHC List definitions and purpose

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 (tm) mail lists which originally ran on The University of Arizona LISTSERV (tm). They presently are hosted by The University of Kansas LISTSERV. The founders of the NBHC mailing lists were Chuck Williamson and Norm Saunders. Visit The Maryland Osprey page for history. For present listowners see below.

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 collect and distribute, by e-mail, transcripts of North American Rare Bird Alerts (also known as RBAs or hotlines), and any other frequent bird report of North American interest. Many of these Alerts originated as telephone hotlines. NBHC contributors were the hotline originators themselves, or they phoned the alert number and wrote down the contents, then posted the text on the e-mail list. Today, most alerts are distributed and used electronically rather than by telephone, and often skip the telephone format completely. Transcripts are formatted by the volunteer compilers or contributors and posted by e-mail to the listserv (, which redistributes 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's good karma to "pay back" the system by reporting your sightings to local hotline compilers.

If you are involved in compiling, summarizing and distributing bird reports for a state or region, and want to contribute the text of your summary to the appropriate list, send mail to the list owners with a request to receive posting authorization. New hotline contributions are always welcome. For detailed instructions consult the Contributors' Guidelines.

The lists are organized geographically. To determine the appropriate list for your reports, see the list and map of the NBHC area, showing BIRDEAST, BIRDWEST and BIRDCNTR borders. The BIRD_RBA list is for birds of interest to birders throughout the continent.

B. Subscription Management Quick Reference

How to start, stop, or modify your subscription.

1. To use E-mail commands, please send all subscription commands to the list server (the computer where subscription records are kept), at

Please do not post sign-on, sign-off, or "help" requests to any of the BIRDnnn lists. That is, do not send such requests to If in doubt, contact a list owner.

To subscribe to any of the lists, send a mail message to The first line of the message's body should read

where BIRDnnnn is the replaced by the NBHC list you'd like to subscribe to, and Your Name is your real name. No "handles", please. To sign off of any NBHC list, again send a mail message to containing the command:

Other options can be changed by sending SET commands as email to the same listserver address,

2. A Web Form is also available. Go to the main archive web page, find the list you want, go to its page, and click "Join or leave the list (or change settings)." Then follow the instructions in the form. Note: If you have joined the list but haven't set a password, you still need to use the "Join or leave..." link to set one before you can change your options.

C. Archives and searching

Archives of NBHC transcripts are accessible on several servers - there may be other sources we don't know about, as well.

D. NBHC Contributors' Guidelines:

For details of formatting, and posting a text to the NBHC lists, read the Contributors' Guidelines.

E. Whom to Contact:

If you have a problem subscribing, unsubscribing, or changing subscription options, contact one of these co-listowners:

for BIRDEAST: Laurie Larson (Backup: Chuck Otte, Steve Sosensky)

for BIRDCNTR: Chuck Otte. (Backup: Laurie Larson, Steve Sosensky)

for BIRDWEST: Steve Sosensky. (Backup: Laurie Larson, Chuck Otte)

For BIRDCHAT: Dave Rintoul (Backup: Chuck Otte, Laurie Larson)

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Questions, suggestions, and contributions to this documentation:
Laurie Larson
last updated 4/12/2014 Copyright (c) 1990-2014 Laurie Larson