Carolinabirds: Birds and Birding in the Carolinas

This e-mail list serves as a forum to discuss wild birds, birders, and birding in the Carolinas, including rare birds, bird finding, bird identification, bird behavior, backyard birding, trip reports, bird counts, and bird club information.

Carolinabirds Commands and Guidelines

The Basics

Note: Before sending any messages, please read through the posting guidelines below.

To subscribe, send a message to with this text in the body of the message (leave the subject line blank):

subscribe carolinabirds

To unsubscribe, send a message to with this text in the body of the message (leave the subject line blank):

unsubscribe carolinabirds

Digest Mode: If you would like all of a day's messages sent in one big e-mail, subscribe as above then send this command to :

set carolinabirds digest

Be sure to leave the subject line blank or the subject line may be interpreted as a command. It helps to delete any signature attachments and turn off fancy formatting before sending commands. Alternately, you can send the subscribe or unsubscribe command in the subject line of the message, leaving the body of the message blank. You can also subscribe and unsubscribe by logging on to the Carolinabirds Mailing List Manager. You can also set your e-mail reception options here, such as whether you'd like to receive messages in digest mode.

Posting Guidlines

When sending messages to Carolinabirds, please:

  1. Only post messages with subject matter that relates directly to birds and birding in the Carolinas. Try to avoid discussing related subjects such as hunting, cats, politics, and general conservation issues. While these are important topics, there are many newsgroups and other forums where these can be discussed. Carolinabirds needs to maintain its focus for it to remain useful. For clarity, we suggest including the full English name of each species and avoiding the four-letter banding codes. Particularly rare species should be reported to the appropriate state Bird Records Committee.
  2. Include a descriptive Subject: line. For sightings reports, we suggest that you include the location (place name or county, and state), date of the observation (if different from the date you post), and a highlight species of the report (if there's a particularly good one).
  3. Put your name (first name or nickname and last name) and location (city or county and state) in each message you send to the list, so people will know who you are and where you're from.
    • Most e-mail programs allow you to create a "signature" file, which is appended to all outgoing messages, so you don't have to retype it each time. Signature files should be no more than 4-6 lines long. Longer sigs tend to be more annoying than useful, especially when the signature is much longer than the actual message. The traditional sig starts with two hyphens and a space on the first line.
  4. You may send messages in either plain text or html format. Unfortunately the Duke mail system has a new security "feature" that changes the URLs of links in plain text email messages to very complex ugly looking links that redirect through If you would like links in a message to appear normal, send the message in html format.
  5. In general, do not send attachments to Carolinabirds. Examples of attachments include image files, Word documents, PDF files, and vCards. Attachments are often very big and people with slow connections and limited space for their e-mail inbox tend not to appreciate them. They are also good ways to spread viruses. Small attachments (under 100Kb file size) are permitted, but will be moderated, slowing distribution. If you want to post a picture and don't have your own web site, the best thing to do is it upload it to the Carolina Bird Club photo gallery. You can then include a link to the picture in an e-mail to Carolinabirds.
  6. When replying to a message, try to quote the minimum amount of the message being replied to. For example, if you have a minor point about one word in a 100-line message, don't quote the entire 100-line message in your reply before adding your 1-line point, just quote the minimum necessary to provide context. By default replies go to the sender of the message instead of the group. If you want everyone to see your reply, address it to Do not bcc: (blind carbon-copy) messages to Carolinabirds - it should be clear that the message was sent through the list.
  7. Do not send replies to private messages to Carolinabirds without confirming that the author of the private message wanted it to be posted.
  8. In general, do not send advertising to the list. But, for example, if you've just written a book "Finding Birds in the NC Piedmont" or are running pelagic trips, you're welcome to make announcements.
  9. Don't send chain letters such as virus warnings to Carolinabirds. These are usually internet hoaxes. Do a web search on a key phrase of the warning message to see if it's been reported as a hoax.
  10. Follow the standard rules of Netiquette (net etiquette). Here are a couple of sites with more details: |
  11. Be careful not to send commands (such as "subscribe" or "unsubscribe") to Each message you send here will be received by over 1500 subscribers and end up semi-permanently on the web, so think twice before you send! Commands should go only to
  12. Set your email reception to nomail or unsubscribe before activating a vacation mail message or other autoresponder. These are incompatible with e-mail groups.

To post a message, address it to The message will be automatically sent to each person on the list by the sympa mailing list server.

To suspend mail, for example when you go on vacation, send a command to

set carolinabirds nomail

When you return, reactive your subscription by sending a command

set carolinabirds mail

You can catch up with what you missed by reading messages on the web sites that carry Carolinabirds (see below).

To change your subscription address, send an unsubscribe command from your old account, then a subscribe command from your new one. If your old account is already non-functional, please explain what you would like to do by sending a email to the list-owner (Will Cook) at and he will take care of it.

Sorry, there's no option to individually set a subject line prefix as you can with Listserv e-mail groups. However, with any modern e-mail program it's simple to set up sort options so that all messages you get from Carolinabirds go to a specific folder. All messages have "carolinabirds" in the To: or Cc: line, so you can use this to sort the messages.

Digest mode

Carolinabirds has a digest mode, so you can receive all the messages posted during the day in one big message. It's great for people that get too much e-mail, but not so good for folks that like to drop everything to chase rare birds.

To change your subscription to digest mode, send a message to with this text in the body of the message:

set carolinabirds digest

A plain text version of the digest is available also, in case the regular version doesn't work well with your email program. If you check email at, this option works better. To set this option, send this command instead:

set carolinabirds digestplain

To change back to regular mode, receiving each message posted separately, send a message to with this text in the body of the message:

set carolinabirds mail

Subscribers to the digest can post messages to Carolinabirds. To post a message, make sure you address it to instead of just replying to a digest message.

For a list of other commands, send message text "help" (without the quotes) to If you have trouble getting on or off this list or have other questions, just send an e-mail to Will Cook at explaining the problem.

Removal from Carolinabirds: On occasion, an address needs to be removed from the list. Here are some specific circumstances:

  1. If your e-mail account stops working for more than a day or so, your address will be taken off the list. You won't receive any notification of this, because any message sent to your address would likely bounce back undelivered. The most common cause of this is when your e-mail account is temporarily over quota. When your e-mail is back to working, just send a subscribe command (see above) to get back on the list. (Very common)
  2. If you have activated a vacation-mail program (autoresponder), you will be removed immediately without notification. You may resubscribe after you turn off the autoresponder. (Rare)
  3. If you send spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail) to the list, you will be removed permanently, with no warning. (Rare)
  4. If there is other evidence your e-mail account is non-functional, it may be removed from the list. You may resubscribe at any time if you were unsubscribed in error. (Very rare)
  5. If you repeatedly ignore the guidelines, you will be removed after several warnings. You may resubscribe again after 1 month if you're willing to follow the guidelines. (Very rare)

Carolinabirds on the Web

If you're getting too much mail, you can unsubscribe and check it periodically on the web (note, however, that you still must be subscribed to send messages). See:

If you're interested in how many people are on the list and a bir of list history, see this summary about Carolinabirds subscribers.

Carolinabirds was created on 13 December 1996 and moved from majordomo to sympa on 22 November 2006. The Carolinabirds info file moved from to on 9 December 2013.


Will Cook,

A Few Links

Carolina Nature - Bird Links

Carolinaleps - our sister group for butterflies (honorary birds). To subscribe, send message text "subscribe carolinaleps" (no quotes) to

There are many thousands of birding web sites. Here's a web directory to get you started on your exploration:

Carolina Nature home | Carolinabirds list manager/archive

Carolinabirds info file revised 1/6/2017

All photographs and text ©2017 by Will Cook unless otherwise noted.