This thread on VTBIRD is heartbreaking.
First, here's a simple message to the fearful: Please do not fear us.
Birders are a community of kind people who love to share knowledge and
exuberance. And nobody, even the experts, myself included, is immune to
mistakes. It's part of being human. So PLEASE do not fear this list.
Send your sightings. Read and learn.
Second, perhaps this discussion may initiate a defining opportunity for
VTBIRD. In my view, this list is best designed for reporting notable
birds and events: rarities, seasonal firsts, migration updates, outings,
lectures, workshops and the like. I see VTBIRD as a news source rather
than a forum for discussion (this thread notwithstanding).
One idea would be to move Vermont birding discovery and discussions,
including support for all the welcome novices, to another forum, perhaps
a Facebook page, a Google Group or a blog. This would allow us to share,
in the "Vermont Way," the collective birding wisdom in this state. It
would welcome the novices and the advancing birders.
Or, if we'd like to keep it all here, that's fine. Then I say make
VTBIRD a big tent (or a big maple canopy). I'm normally much too busy
with my own blizzard of emails and field work to have much of a presence
on VTBIRD. But I will defend and support any novice who wishes to join
our online and actual community. So, beginners, know that you are the
majority. Most of my birding clients are beginning and advancing
birders. Fear not VTBIRD. Embrace it.
Now, I must go respond to an earnest report of a pair of Ivory-billed
Woodpeckers in Bennington on Sunday, which just now landed in my in-box.