Getting Started

Rare Bird Network @rbnUK is a new free bird sightings 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, many sightings will be relevant to somebody else.

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.

There are other bird alert services out there but this is the only free service. If you happen to subscribe to one of the other paid for services, please don't just tweet out an alert from that service and add a hashtag. Although if you do find something noteworthy please do report it to RBN as well as your other service.

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.

Just follow these five simple steps to become part of Rare Bird Network...

1) Set up a Twitter account

Even if you've never used Twitter before just head over to Twitter and create an account. It won't take you too long to set up and if you're not wanting to get too involved you can make your account private.

2) Follow us on Twitter

To keep informed about updates and changes to our service it's worth giving us a follow @rbnUK. We also retweet sightings, news, photographs etc that we think will be of interest. If you're after some bird related information we can help by getting you in touch with our followers (other birders) who may also be able to offer you advice.

3) Grab your hashtags

Pop over to our hashtags page.

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 that you think will be of interest to other birders make sure you hashtag it with the relevant county hashtag when you send your tweet.

If you do happen to see a mega though be sure to hashtag it with #rbnMEGA as well as the area code. Also, if you start using one of the hashtags codes please let us know @rbnUK

4) Get involved

When you're all set up, all you've got to do is take part. To make things a bit easier for you here's a guide on how to create the perfect tweet.

For Rare Bird Network to succeed it's all about you, it needs your involvement, it needs you to persevere, it also needs you to encourage others to become involved. By helping spread the message of what we're trying to achieve (a free bird sightings service that covers the whole of the UK) you can make it succeed.

5) Register for alerts

This is optional but if you'd like to receive an alert on your phone to inform you about new sightings there are a few different options, click just here for details.

For more information

Twitter: @rbnUK

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