Pennsylvania Rare Bird Alerts


List of Rare Bird Alerts


Text messaging has replaced phone Rare Bird Alerts. There is a statewide one (PARBA) and several regional ones (see below). They operate through an app called GroupMe.

These services enable you to send and receive text messages about rare bird sightings in PA. Once you join, all messages received from any member will be sent to you. Also, any message you send to this service will be distributed to all members of the group.

You do not need a Smartphone to use this service, but you do need texting capability.

To join a group, you must contact the group owner (see list below), who will then add you to the group.

Users can then receive alerts by text message, or within the GroupMe app which is free on iOS, Android, and Windows phones. If using the app, the user will have to create an account with GroupMe either by linking your Facebook account, by providing an email address, or by providing your cell phone number.

Once you have an account, users can also log into their account at in addition to using the app. The website version provides an interface much like the app and users can browse their lists and post messages from there too.

Once you are invited to join a group, you will receive a message either within the app (if you have it set up) or as a text message from a random phone number. The welcome message says something like "So-and-so has added you to WesternPA-RBA, please reply to join the group!" You must send a message back to the group within 24-48 hours, or you will be automatically removed. The message back can say anything so people usually reply with something simple like "stay" or "thanks for adding me". If using the app, just reply right in the app. If receiving messages as texts, reply to the same phone number the welcome message came from. That phone number will be used both to send and receive messages and is specific to the user and the group... it cannot be shared with other users, and if you are subscribed to more than one group, each group will have a different number to interface with.

Note that you do not need to have a GroupMe account to participate. If you provide your cell number to the list owner, he or she can add you to the group using only that and you will send and receive all messages via text.

List of PA Rare Bird Alerts


Statewide, Review Species only

Group Owner: Drew Weber

Click on this link to join or contact the list owner.



Southeastern Pa from York and Dauphin counties east/south to border

Group Owner: Nick Pulcinella

For reporting local rarities such as scoters, Red-necked Grebes, Iceland and Glaucous gulls, Dickcissels, Clay-colored Sparrows etc., birds that are not reportable to PORC, but still rare for the area.



Southcentral Pa including Cambria, Somerset, Bedford, Blair, southern Huntingdon, Fulton, Franklin, Juniata, Perry, Cumberland, Adams

Group Owner: Mike Lanzone

Click this link to join or contaxt the group owner



Western PA - Greene north to Erie diagonally down to Indiana south Fayette

Group Owner: Geoff Malosh

  • The WesternPA-RBA is meant to be used solely as an alerting system. "Chatting" is not tolerated on this list. Please limit your posts to reporting only rare birds, very significant events like major fallouts, and pertinent questions to other users about rare birds (for example, clarification on an exact location).

  • Do not post common birds and do not reply with unnecessary messages like "thanks" or "cool!".
  • In your posts, please always include the species name unambiguously spelled out (no banding code abbreviations), the county name, and as exact a description of the location as possible within a relatively short text message. GPS coordinates are useful if available.
  • Don't write a novel describing the location or the situation... provide your cell number in the post if people would need to call you for complicated information.
  • Don't post birds from inaccessible or private locations that other birders would not be able to visit anyway.
  • WesternPA-RBA covers all of western Pennsylvania from the Ohio border east to and including Somerset, Cambria, Indiana, Jefferson, Forest, and Warren counties. Occasionally "extralimital" major rarities (ABA-level rarities) in eastern Ohio may also be reported to WesternPA-RBA.
  • Please also note that WesternPA-RBA originated as an Allegheny County-specific alerting service, and most of the users are based in Allegheny County or are at least very interested in listing there. As a result, occasionally Allegheny County birds are reported to WesternPA-RBA that would otherwise not be noteworthy elsewhere in western Pennsylvania. Examples are species like Prothonotary Warbler, Marsh Wren, and the like. These Allegheny posts are acceptable (and encouraged!) but should not be posted from other counties ... in general just use your judgment. It's better to report something than not report something and if you report something that is out of scope for the list, the list owner will let you know.

Central PA RBA

Central PA - Centre, northern Huntingdon, Clearfield, Clinton,Union, Mifflin, Snyder

Smartphone text message group for notable bird alerts in the central PA region

The purpose of the Central PA RBA group is to concisely share alerts, updates, and information on rare and unusual birds in the central PA region. Download the WhatsApp app onto your smartphone (details below), and then send an email to Alex Lamoreaux that gives your name and phone number. You will then be added to the Central PA RBA group. Messages that you or anyone else send using WhatsApp will then be sent to all members of the group.

WhatsApp is a free messenger app for smartphones that uses the internet to send messages, images, audio or video. The service is very similar to text messaging services; however, because WhatsApp uses the internet to send messages, the cost of using WhatsApp is significantly less than texting. For more details visit For installation instructions, see


Northern PA - top two counties across PA - Warren/Forest and east to Wayne/Pike east, and Northumberland, Montour, Columbia, Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill

Group Owner:

Click this link to join or contact the group owner.