Rare Bird Alert

The Los Alamos Rare Bird Alert (LARBA) is a mailing list set up specifically to alert birders to the presence of unusual birds within or immediately adjacent to Los Alamos County. Members of the mailing list can send an email to the list address and the contents of that email will be immediately sent out to all members of the list. The list supports both email and SMS (text message) output, though messages to the list must be emails.  

What Birds to Report

We want to keep the amount of traffic on the list to a minimum, so please follow the following rules when sending messages to the list:

  • The birds you report should either be rare for Los Alamos County or birds that are usually difficult to get to or find.  A good example of the latter would be birds that are generally only seen along the river but are found closer to a road (e.g. waterfowl on the lagoons, an American Dipper in Upper Los Alamos Canyon, etc.). 
  • The intent of LARBA is to allow others to chase the birds you report, so you should only report birds that are likely to still be around for at least 15 minutes or so.  NO FLYOVERS.
  • The birds should be in Los Alamos County or very nearby. Bandelier, the Valles Caldera, and in the river (technically out of the county!) are fair game.  
  • If you respond to a LARBA report and find the bird, a confirmation message to the list is acceptable (e.g. “AWPE still @ Ashley Pond”).  Similarly if you are certain that the bird is no longer present (either because you saw it leave or the report was for a water bird and you can tell that the bird is no longer in the reported water body), a message to the list indicating that the bird is gone is acceptable (e.g. “AWPE flushed and gone”). Do not report failed attempts to find a previously-reported bird that could still be present nearby. 
  • Do not report birds that you can’t identify unless you are certain that it is not a common species.
  • Do not report birds that you feel are particularly sensitive, e.g. nesting raptors, Spotted Owls, etc. 

How to Report

Only members of the mailing list can post to the list (see below for information on how to sign up). To send a message to the list, send an email to larba@googlegroups.com.  Your message should take the format of a species and a location and should be as short as possible, e.g. “SNEG @ Ashley Pond.” Use 4-letter banding codes if you know them (lists of the banding codes can be found here: taxonomic or alphabetic). These messages do get sent out to people’s cell phones as SMS text messages, and anything over 150 characters or so will be truncated, so you should put your entire message in the subject line of your email. Leave the body of your email blank. 

If you receive LARBA text messages on your phone, you may be tempted to reply to these text messages as a means of sending a report to the list–THIS DOES NOT WORK. You must use email to send reports to the list, not text messages.  

How to Sign Up

Send an email to Mouser Williams (mouser@mouser.org) with the following information:

  • Any email address(es) you would like to receive LARBA message on
  • Any cell phone number(s) you would like to receive LARBA text messages on and the wireless provider (Verizon, T-Mobile, etc.) for each 

Any questions or technical issues should be addressed to Mouser Williams: mouser@mouser.org.

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