Guidelines for posting to COBirds

COBirds is a Colorado Field Ornithologists supported Google Group with over 1400 members for the discussion of Colorado birds. It's all about sharing the fun of birding in Colorado. The discussions can be viewed online or received as an email (individual messages or a digest). 

How to Sign Up For COBirds

You must have or sign up for a Google Account to join the group. 

  1. To sign up for the Colorado Birds Google Group (better known as “COBirds” or “COBirds email list”, visit and click the button “Ask to Join Group”. 
  2. Fill in the relevant information in the pop-up box. The form asks you how you want to receive the messages of other members (options: no email, abridged email per 100 messages, digest email at one per day, or email (which is about 10 emails per day)). You can experiment with these choices and change your choice at any time by going to the right column and clicking on "Edit my membership."
  3. Once submitted, your request will be reviewed by a moderator (to prevent spam, all individuals interested in Colorado Birds are eligible to join). 
  4. Your first few messages to COBirds will be reviewed by the Manager, and if they look okay you will be approved and your subsequent messages will be posted to COBirds immediately. (New members often make the common mistakes mentioned below-- forgot to mention county, forget to sign name with city and state.)

Moderators have the right to remove anyone from the group for violating the COBirds group rules posted on this page. 

How to Post to COBirds

All messages must be signed with your full name, city, and state. Anonymous messages will not be accepted. Please read the “What can be posted to COBirds?” section below for specific information to include with different types of posts. Individuals who are members of the group can post to COBirds by emailing

When replying to a COBirds message, please check the return address before you send to ensure your reply message is going only to the person intended, not the whole group. Please take extended discussions between individuals offline or to personal email. Do not simply Reply or Reply All to messages as your response will go to everyone on COBirds.

Images and Audio Recordings

Images and audio recordings pose some problems when group members receive the emails. If your image(s) or sound recording(s) are part of an eBird list, please link to that list.  If you have a website with the photo(s) or recording(s) please link to those images. If neither are an option, images of birds or other subjects and recordings of vocalizations directly pertinent to the report may be embedded in the body of the email post. Do not include images as attachments to the email.

What can be posted to COBirds?

1. Reporting rare or unusual birds

About half our messages are rare or unusual bird sightings. What is considered rare? Whatever you think is rare or interesting is acceptable, but refer to the Colorado State Rare Bird Review List for an official list of rare birds in Colorado. Remember that all sightings are regarded as provisional until confirmed, so don't be offended or discouraged if you are questioned about details or your observations.  

  • Report observations of rare or unusual birds on COBirds as soon as possible. Please use the following format:
    • Subject line: Name of the bird and county it was found in.  "Trumpeter Swan/Boulder County". 
    • If not absolutely certain of identification indicate this by using 'probable' or 'possible' when posting. 
    • If time permits, mention as much as you can about the rare bird: date, time, plumage, sex, and age, but do not delay initial posting to include these details.
    • Include directions or provide a link to a map showing the location, unless the bird might be harmed by visitors. Links to directions listed on the Colorado Birding website are always acceptable. 
    • If you have a photo, don't attach it, instead upload it to a website like Flickr and link to that website in your message. 
    • If the rare bird was seen on private property, mention if the landowner is willing to give birders access including any limitations.
  • Interesting, rare and chaseable birds in neighboring states can and should be posted to this list.
  • Any birds found not found on the list, should be documented for Colorado Bird Records Committee review using the CBRC Report Submission Form.

2. Trip reports & announcements 

  • If you had an interesting outing in Colorado, feel free to post an account so other birders can duplicate your trip or be aware of what interesting birds are out there. If your message is about multiple county sightings, state the general location in your subject line such as "NE CO Birding".
  • If you are planning a birding outing anywhere in Colorado or a conference on Colorado Birds, please share that here as long as it is free or sponsored by a non-profit organization.

3. Research & ornithological observations

  • If you have any interesting ornithological information, opinions, musings, or questions about Colorado birds, please share that on COBirds.
  • If you saw unusual or interesting bird migration movements in Colorado, please feel free to share that, for example, first of season (FOS) sightings in the spring.

4. Political and environmental messages 

  • Political and environmental messages are acceptable as long as they directly relate to the issue of Colorado's birds.

5. Giving Away Birding-related Objects

  • If you have birding-related objects to give away you may send a message of that nature to the list.


What should not be posted to COBirds?

  • COBirds does not allow any file including pictures to be attached to your message because viruses are spread through attachments. If you have a picture that you want to share, please include it in an eBird checklist linked in your email or place it on a site like Flickr, and include the link to it in your message.
  • Discussions about feral and outdoor cats are prohibited.
  • Discussions about bird feeding techniques are not allowed (i.e. what to feed, how to place, which work best. etc.).
  • General pro-hunting vs. anti-hunting discussions are not allowed. This does not prohibit discussions on the status and effects of hunting on a species or group of species or state/local policies around hunting.
  • Commercial advertising, solicitation, or "For Sale" messages on COBirds are strictly forbidden.
  • Bird or birding-related messages about events, classes or other activities that include a for-profit fee cannot be posted to COBirds.
  • Trip lists and/or bird-related travel reports from outside of Colorado may not be posted on COBirds. If you want to share your trip lists/reports from other locations, please post them on your personal website and then send a single message to COBirds directing subscribers to that location.
  • Requests for out-of-state hotspots, travel tips, or reference books.
  • "Test" messages to the list. If you think there is a problem with the list contact the list manager using the CFO contact form [LINK: Page link to Contact Form].
  • Profane language of any kind is unacceptable.

Message Etiquette

  • All messages should be signed with your full name, city, and state. Anonymous messages will not be accepted.
  • If you are replying to a COBirds message, Google Group software will automatically copy the original subject line and the original message with all replies below it, with your reply at the very bottom of the chain. Feel free to delete all or some of the text above your reply. This helps members read your reply without scrolling down through replies they already read.
  • Please do not use 4-letter banding codes to initially identify a bird in the subject line or the body of your message. After you have spelled out the name of the bird at least once, you may then use 4-letter codes (Mourning Warbler/MOWA). Never use 4-letter codes for lists of birds. Under these circumstances, names should all be completely spelled out.
  • Messages referring to a person or organization must be respectful and based in fact.
  • COBirds subscriber email addresses may not be used for any purpose unrelated to COBirds without the express consent of the individual.
  • Please write your messages to COBirds using Arial or Times New Roman (or just use the default font of your email program) and only use a black font color. Background colors other than white and/or "stationary" effects are not allowed.
  • HTML formatting (such as bold, underlining or italicizing of words) is acceptable if it is being used to add emphasis to a word(s) of importance in your message.
  • Please select "No Email" in your subscription options BEFORE setting an "auto-reply" with your email program.


Most Common Mistakes

  • Forgetting to put the county name after the bird in the subject line, unless it is irrelevant. This is done so that everyone will quickly know where the bird was seen. COBirds is for the whole state, all 64 counties.
  • Forgetting to sign your message at the end with your full name, city, and state.

Subscribers who do not follow these guidelines will be placed on moderation by the Manager, meaning your messages will be held for review by the Manager instead of being posted immediately. If the guidelines continue to be ignored, a subscriber may ultimately be blocked from posting.

Subscriber email addresses are never shared, sold or traded with other parties. For questions, concerns, problems or suggestions please contact the COBirds Moderator

Thanks for subscribing and enjoy COBirds.