About North American Rare Bird Alert

...for Avid Listers

NARBA is a membership site for avid listers in the ABA Area. We take the work out of finding where the birds are and keep you updated on the birds you want to see. 

Just visit NARBA.org

The NARBA site has a great design for both mobile and desktop use, so you always have the info you need wherever you are.

Plans for any budget

NARBA memberships are available in a variety of lengths so you can test the site out before you commit to a years membership. 

Get a Membership Today!


Unclog your inbox

Get instant updates when rare birds show up in the ABA area.

Curated alerts

No time to check all the listservs? No problem, we'll do it for you! Check the NARBA site for updates on whether or not a bird is still being seen, directions to see the bird, and more. We'll compile all the important information so you can access it when you need it.


See past reports, complete with location details, maps, and photos. These details are crucial for anyone hoping to track down some of the annually returning rarities.


NARBA History


NARBA was founded in 1985 by Bob Odear as "Bob-O-Link" which at the time was a huge leap forward in technology. Prior to Bob's service, birders relied on phone trees to get word of rare birds in other regions. With "Bob-O-Link", that information was available on demand for a small fee, plus the most dedicated birders could pay extra for an additional list of species which he would then personally call them when reports came in. Bob relied on a huge network of local birders that would phone him when a rarity was found, and had been verified. Bob would then record the sighting on a monstrous answering machine that subscribers were able to call in and retrieve the message from. He had selected the machines because he could pause in the middle the recording. Bob used this so the paid subscribers could leave their membership number and their code name. He would periodically listen in to who was phoning in and stop the message if they weren't members. Later they branched out to a monthly newsletter but ultimately it was all too time consuming and consistently lost money. He decided that it would be best to donate it to a non-profit as part of his legacy.

Houston Audubon

In 1989 Houston Audubon acquired the service from Bob. Houston Audubon oversaw operations through 2013 with the help of several dedicated volunteers over the years: Dr. Mike Austin, Steve Matherly, and Susan Billetdeaux. During this time the service evolved from a telephone service to a website, but by the spring of 2013 they decided they could no longer support it and announced that the service would be shutting down in May 2014. At that point, Drew Weber and Dave Bell decided that the service was too valuable to lose, and stepped in to take it over and modernize it. 

Birds in the Hand

The fall of 2013 was a blur as Drew and Dave worked to oversee the development of a new site for NARBA and to get into the paces of all the rare bird reports. It proved to be an exciting time to start because several Big Years were in progress, including Neil Hayward's Accidental Big Year, an effort that would see him take the title of the biggest Big Year total. The members responded well to the updates and stuck around, making the transition a success, and there are big plans for NARBA going forward.



About Houston Audubon

Houston Audubon promotes the conservation and appreciation of birds and wildlife habitat. One of National Audubon’s largest and most active chapters, its sanctuaries protect over 3,300 acres of vital habitat on the Upper TX Coast, including the globally famous Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary and four sanctuaries at High Island. Houston Audubon also provides exemplary environmental education programs that instruct on the critical needs of native birds and wildlife.



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