Alachua Audubon Society

A chapter of the National Audubon Society

Farewell to the Alachua County birding report


All good things must come to an end. But so must all mediocre things. This birding report, for instance. I can’t remember exactly when I started it, but I’ve being sending it out for over fifteen years. Lately it’s been superseded by the “Alachua County Birding” Facebook page and eBird’s various “alerts.” I’ve noticed that many solicitations and questions posed here have gone unanswered (though mailed out to over 550 addresses!). I’ve had birders who are on my mailing list ask me questions which I’d answered a few days previously in a birding report. More to the point, only a few people pass along their unusual sightings to me anymore; I have to get most of my information from eBird. All of this suggests to me that the reports are not much read anymore. I suspect that this is because most of us have moved from desktop computers to smartphones, and the birding report is too long to read on a smartphone – it’s still written for a person relaxing in front of a monitor with a cup of coffee. But it’s the nature of contemporary society to move on from one communications platform to another, and it makes no sense to complain. It was fun while it lasted, and I’m surprised that it lasted more than fifteen years.

Plus, I’m 60 years old, and if my brain holds out – a pretty big if, as it happens – I’ve got only 10 or 20 years to accomplish some of the other things I wanted to do in my life. I’ve got a whole house full of books to read and some other stuff I’d like to do as well. The internet just gets in the way. So I’m discontinuing the Alachua County birding reports. If you want to keep up with the local sightings, take advantage of eBird alerts or the “Alachua County Birding” Facebook page. If you don’t want to join Facebook under your own name, then come up with a fake name like Harry Dogsbotham (maybe something a bit more plausible) and use it solely for checking the birding pages on Facebook (but if you want to join the “Alachua County Birding” Facebook page using a fake name, let Mike Manetz or Bob Carroll know what you’re doing via private email). And don’t forget to join the Alachua Audubon Facebook page for program meetings and field trips (like next year’s Burrowing Owl field trip).

My thanks to you all for many years of support and conversation.


  1. As a fairly new member and reader of the Crane, I have found your column invaluable. I will miss it. See you on the trail

  2. I will miss you. I didn’t check in very often, but it was the highlight of my day to see what all the local bird lovers had been doing and spotting when I would read your reports. I would go back and catch up – I didn’t want to miss a thing! I never posted, I never joined or commented, I just would read and always thought someday I would get involved. I am sad you won’t be reporting anymore. As the Barred Owl hoots away, and the Catbird mews right behind him – I want you to know how much I loved your letters, and learning about the history and sightings in Gainesville. (I tried the Facebook page, but your letters were more enjoyable). Perhaps you will continue to write occasionally, for all our sakes! Thank you for your love of the birds!

  3. Mike Paczolt
    September 4, 2017

    Hi Rex, on behalf of my son Brannon & I please know how very much your birding know how, coupled with the Rowan sense of humor has meant to birders both beginners as well as geezers over the years. Your page was always a bright spot in our day & will be greatly missed. Thank you for your knowledge and years of dedication.
    Mike & Brannon Paczolt


  4. thank you Rex for all the years of interesting reading and knowledgable info. too bad it’s moving to EVIL Facebook…..but I wish you all the best in catching up on stuff you want to do. maybe a new print edition of best birding spots for those of us who still look at paper? lots of appreciation, pat wolfe

  5. Hi Rex! Thanks so much for all the entertaining and informative Birding Reports over the years. I have learned a lot from them. They have been my go-to when each season changed, to find out which birds are showing up and excitedly spotting them within a week or two in my Ocala yard. Also, thank you for all your help with my rare Rufous hummingbird visitors and adding me to the data base for first recorded in Marion County. That was really neat!! Something I won’t forget. To everything there is a season, May you and your family enjoy the many seasons to come! Thank you again!

  6. Sorry to hear that you’re discontinuing the “Alachua County Birding Report”. (Maybe it’s because I don’t have a smartphone.) I’ve enjoyed it for many years. Before you go, let me ask a question. Why wasn’t the Whooping Crane mentioned in an eBird Alert? Thanks.

    • The Whooping Crane has been at Paynes Prairie since April 2016, and on and off since 2009. Birders saw it almost every day for months, yet still had to submit documentation each time as though it were a rare bird. So the county’s eBird reviewer adjusted the filter so that a count of 1 Whooping Crane wouldn’t be flagged, and since it’s not flagged it doesn’t show up on the eBird Alert.

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