Rare Bird Network @rbnUK is a new free bird sightings service.
Rare Bird Network (RBN) uses the social networking site Twitter and works by using pre-defined hashtags for each county (or defined region) in the United Kingdom.
If you click on one of the hashtags (for example the hashtag for Greater London is #rbnLND) it will take you directly to a list of all the sightings in Greater London that have been tagged in the last eight days. So, if ever you see a bird and tweet out the information make sure you hashtag it with the relevant county hashtag.
The hashtags typically relate to the "Chapman County Code" a unique three letter code that relates to a specific region. In some instances a better (more logical) code has been used as an alternative. On occasion regions are also defined by grouping areas together such as with the Scottish islands. Where this has occured and no code exists a suitable code has been created.
The regions are the same as those used by BirdGuides this is to make it easier for people who may also subscribe to one of their services. On that note, RBN is not considered to be a replacement for any of the popular bird alert services and it is hoped that it will in fact compliment them. If you subscribe to another service, don't just Tweet out an alert from that service, although if you find something noteworthy please do report it to RBN as well as your other service.
RBN, although it's name may suggest otherwise, is not just about extreme rarities, it's about any sighting that you think will be of interest to anyone who lives or may be visiting the county that you're recording in. Whether it's the return of a migrant bird, first record of a bird singing for the year, a good "patch" bird or a tricky "Year List" bird all sightings will be relevant to somebody else.
If you do happen to find a mega though be sure to hashtag it with #rbnMEGA as well as the area code.
To get the most out of Rare Bird Network you have to put something back in to it. The more people who take part and add the hashtags to their sightings the more comprehensive the service will be. So please do add the relevant tag next time you Tweet a sighting and please encourage other friends/followers to do the same.
If you start using one of the hashtags codes please let me know @rbnUK
Thanks for reading, feel free to comment.