Orange County RBA Phone Line
As I sit here under a newly leaky roof, looking at an apparent major
increase in phone rates for the Orange County RBA, I'm deliberating
what to do with the situation.
I don't remember when I took over the Orange County RBA... but it
might be about 8 or 9 years ago. At that time I set up an expensive 4
mailbox phone which over time has proved its worth. Eventually, the
OrCoRBA Yahoo group was formed in 2002, and both the phone line and
Internet RBA has co-existed since that time. This OrangeCountyBirding
group was also set up at that time to encourage discussions of birding
topics in the County.
The ABA encourages RBA phone lines for out of town birders and those
not having access to computers. However I believe that some RBAs have
gone to an Internet only format. The reality of a phone RBA is the
The Orange County RBA is the **only one** in California that I know of
that is sponsored by a single person. The others have institutional
support such as county Audubon Societies which sponsor (e.g. pay the
bills) the various parts of an RBA. The Orange County RBA has never
had such sponsorship or received any outside money to maintain.
The RBA phone by necessity is a business line. When we moved into
this house about 19 months ago, the cost for moving the phone line was
I believe about $200 with installation. Last month's phone charges
(with no outgoing calls being made on the line) was $16.47 for the
RBA, and we just saw that this month's charges will be $24.68 a month.
I'll inquire next week about why the jump in monthly charges. I
estimate I've spent out of pocket about $2,000 during my RBA tenure on
for phone costs.
That sort of cost for us, now both retired, is a lot more than just a
fun hobby expenditure, and the costs keep going up.
What to do? I could just stop the phone RBA and maintain the
Internet RBA. Frankly, that would be the simplest solution, although
it will freeze out some birders. There is enough Internet traffic
about rarities that if one shows up, most birders will hear about it.
Sea and Sage Audubon could pick up the service. I would donate the
current phone to them (and a backup phone of the same model to boot),
which can be serviced remotely. That is, one can change the RBA
messages, etc. from an external phone, and I would be willing to still
do that with the proviso that during vacation times others would fill
Some Birding Retail concern could sponsor the RBA......and a message
would be added to each summary advertising their products.
What I do NOT want is to ask for individual donations to maintain the
RBA. It will prove only a temporary fix, and doesn't spread the
responsibility fairly among the birding public.
So I'm starting this discussion on the phone RBA..... something has to
give and the beginning of 2008 I'll make a decision.
Dana Point, CA