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Durham Bird News WhatsApp Groups


The county Durham WhatsApp groups are set up for the purpose of sharing instantaneous news on birds. It is managed by Durham Bird Club volunteers and so remains a club platform.


Number of Groups

There are two Durham WhatsApp groups;

  • one is strictly for rare and scarce birds; and 

  • one for common/everyday birds and general questions and chit chat.


Eligibility for Membership

You do not have to be a bird club member to join, however we would hope that WhatsApp users feel inclined to become a club member to support the work the club undertakes.

If you are not an existing paid up club member then you must qualify as an active/regular birder within the county boundary to join, visiting birders can be added for the duration of their stay.

We will also not allow anonymity, if we don’t know who you are we reserve the full right to remove you without warning, this is for the purpose of bird and members welfare.  


Rare and Scarce WhatsApp

Messages should pertain to:

  • Birds that are strictly passage only or accidental, chiefly species that do not breed within the county boundary; and

  • Request for information on location of a rare/scarce bird such as asking if it’s still around, where to park if confusing etc.


Messages to avoid:

  • Congratulating others on finds with words, instead use reactions/emojis such as a thumbs up, heart etc. This prevents unnecessary notifications whilst also showing finders of birds your appreciation for the message/news.

  • News on rare breeding birds (see here), if you’re unsure about if something is a rare breeder best to contact Tom Middleton, Andrew Kinghorn, or Michael Murphy to check.

  • Photos of a rarity unless it’s a photo of a newly found rarity that would aid in confirmation of ID.

  • General chit chat is a big no, don’t make jokes or superfluous comments. People have push notifications turned on for this channel.


Club officials may use the rare and scarce to announce club related activities because it is managed by us (Durham Bird Club), for example an AGM. But this is always kept to a minimum.


Durham Common News/Chat

Messages should pertain to:

  • Breeding birds (but not rare breeding birds, see guidance here), wintering birds, passage birds (that aren’t rare or scarce), residents; and

  • General chat, questions about ID, where to go, etc. So long as its bird related its allowed.


Why two groups?

As WhatsApp is push notifications with instantaneous messages, many have rare and scarce on loud and wish to receive notification so they can act fast on news of a rare or scarce bird. Whereas most mute the Common News/Chat and instead read that when they get time to do so, chiefly because these birds tend to be around either indefinitely or for a prolonged period and so fast reactions aren’t perceived to be necessary. This doesn’t mean one type of bird is elevated above another by the club, this is just standard across many bird related WhatsApp groups.


General Questions About WhatsApp

How to reply privately, remove yourself from a group, how to react to messages etc. Please seek advice from: WhatsApp Help Centre or a search engine. Though if you’re really struggling ask one of the admins, we can advise.

How can I join?

To join please contact the Durham Bird Club via our Gmail address or contact Michael Murphy, all these details can be found on our contact us page.

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