sponsored by the

Museum of Natural Science,
Louisiana State University



HUMNET, founded in October 1996 by Van Remsen, is an email bulletin board devoted primarily to disseminating information on hummingbirds and gardening for them in the Southeastern United States. As of January 2008, 379 people were subscribed to HUMNET. Carol Foil <click> is the list-manager as of 30 August 2004.

Frequent general subjects of postings include: which flowers are preferred by hummingbirds, how to grow or propagate these flowers, and which of these will overwinter successfully in various USDA zones of the Southeast; timing of presence of wintering "western" hummingbirds in the Southeast, as well as the timing and routes of migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbird; and choosing hummingbird feeders and solutions. Check recent messages ( to see examples. HUMNET can be a very busy list, especially in Fall, when occasional days see 20-30 messages; for those concerned about mailbox overload, check the "digest" option below.

Although HUMNET members are primarily from the Southeast, we have contributors from all over the world (plus one from Planet X). Newcomers should be warned that HUMNET threads can be exceptionally esoteric, wildly philosophical, and downright silly. Several members require daily electroshock therapy, and others clearly should be institutionalized. Only your level-headed list-owner keeps HUMNET from being renamed "HUMNUT." HUMNET even has its own set of vocabulary words, so don't be surprised if some threads are difficult to follow.


Starting in June 2001, former list-owner Van Remsen started saving messages that he thought might be of general use and storing these on a separate webpage:

useful messages

If veterans have other such messages stored, or are willing to extricate them from the full archives (see below), forward them to Carol Foil or to Remsen for consideration. Karen Taylor has graciously provided many older messages.

Guidelines and rules:

*** be polite and respectful.

*** please do not forward warnings about viruses unless you have first checked these out -- the majority are hoaxes -- e.g., see:

*** please avoid carrying on personal conversations on HUMNET. If a message in your inbox has "[HUMNET]" in the subject line, then a reply to it will normally go to HUMNET as a whole, not just the person who sent the original message. Inadvertently, personal messages are occasionally to the entire list. Keep in mind that HUMNET is set up so that a reply to a message on HUMNET goes to everyone on the list, not just the person who sent the message. It is always a good idea to check the headers in your email program to see where your message is actually going. (If you want to go to my website for the:

Hall of Fame of Most Embarrassing Personal Messages on HUMNET,

now accessible to roughly 1 billion people, including close family, click here: Hall of Fame.) To minimize this problem, we recently made all HUMNET messages appear with the code "[HUMNET-L]" in the subject line -- therefore, a reply to any such message will be distributed to everyone on the list.

*** please use avoid sending messages that are likely of interest to one and only one other person on the list, e.g., "congratulations" on finding a good hummingbird, "welcome" messages, and "I'm envious of your hummer." Send them directly to that person, not to the whole list (Mr. Tom's Tally excepted).

*** when responding to and quoting a HUMNET message, please quote only the most relevant portions rather than reproducing the entire original message, especially long ones, so that the message size is minimized. If your email program does not allow you to copy/paste/delete quoted messages, please find one that does. [You can get Eudora for free over the web if willing to endure pop-up ads.]

*** do not distribute attachments to the list, because attachments are the primary vectors for viruses. The listserv program is set up to reject messages with attachments, but do not take chances.



To subscribe:

send message to:

with only the following as text:

subscribe HUMNET-L Your Name

[do not expect an instantaneous response -- it may be 24 hrs or longer, especially on weekends, before I process the request, although the usual wait is a few hours]

[if that message is bounced back to you, try hitting a "return" character after your name and see if that works; if that doesn't work, contact Carol Foil]

To unsubscribe:

to remove your name from the list, send message to:

with only the following as text:

signoff HUMNET-L

[if that message is bounced back to you, try hitting a "return" character after your text and see if that works; if that doesn't work, contact Carol Foil]



Also please note:

Make sure your email program is set to send messages in Plain Text, not HTML (the "web" language often used in internet email programs, especially accounts) or "rich text" format -- if you need help with that, click here.

If I receive bounced messages for 2-3 days in a row (usually due to ISP problems), then I will likely delete your address from HUMNET. Don't take this personally -- I just get tired of receiving many bounces per day. Just go ahead and resubscribe when the problem is fixed. Also, as list manager, I get very tired of processing bounced messages from addresses with ""mailbox over quota." Most are from Hotmail or Yahoo accounts, which seem to have a very low quota for incoming messages. If your address bounces with "mailbox full" messages for more than a day, I will likely change your subscription to "digest" mode, i.e., you get only one composite HUMNET message per day.

Those who would rather have this option regardless, see below for instructions on how to change to "digest" options.

Another frequent problem is when your postings are rejected by the listserv (with a message that indicates that you are not "authorized" to post messages to HUMNET-L), yet you are still receiving HUMNET messages. This is usually because your email address has been modified by your institution or ISP, yet messages to the old address, i.e., the only one that HUMNET recognizes, are still automatically forwarded to the new one. To fix this, "subscribe" with the new one, and (assuming you can no longer send messages from the old one), ask me to delete the old one manually.

The most frequent mistake made by people when sending messages and commands is using "HUMNET" instead of the name recognized by the listserv software, "HUMNET-L."

For additional information or feedback, contact HUMNET "owner" Carol Foil <click>. Be aware that I actually take vacations, go to meetings, etc., so if days go by without me answering a query, don't take it personally.

John MacGregor has set up an adjunct internet list for posting pictures of hummingbird flowers; to subscribe, go to:


John MacGregor has also set up an internet list and photo list for hummingbird gardeners for the Western USA ( To join, go to the group home pages at:


and sign up.


Also, there is a Salvia list group on Yahoo:

Also, Salvia lovers will certainly want to visit Richard Dufresne's World of Salvias:

There, you will find links to numerous other Salvia sites.


Organizations or web-sites devoted to hummingbirds:

Hummer/Bird Study Group *

The Hummingbird Society

The Hummingbird Web Site

Operation Rubythroat: The Hummingbird Project

Trochilids Web Page

Winter Hummingbirds of Southwest Louisiana

Flowers used by hummingbirds in Brazil

hummingbird information, photos, recordings: enature


(* Official notice from our over-worked HUMNET Legal Defense Staff: HUMNET is not responsible for whatever happens to those who enter this site)


Useful commands:

[if message is bounced back to you, try hitting a "return" character after your text and see if that works; if that doesn't work, contact list-manager Carol Foil]

To change addresses:

All you have to do is do the "signoff" routine above for the old one, and "subscribe" with the new one.

To set to "no mail":

If you are worried about exhausting your mailbox capacity, which will cause me to delete you if the problem goes on for more than a couple of days, you can "inactivate" yourself (and then "reactivate" upon return), without having to signoff and then resubscribe, by sending the following command to the listserv:


(and then, to reactivate: SET HUMNET-L MAIL)

Digest format

Another solution to the "out-of-town" situation (or to mailbox clutter in general), if you want to still see what has been happening, is to get only 1 message per day from the list, a "digest" with all the messages.


(and then, to change back: SET HUMNET-L NODIGESTS)

To contact others on HUMNET

Rather than send a message to all members of HUMNET to see if someone knows someone else's email address, please first send the following command to :


The list you receive is organized by alphabetically by ISP, unfortunately, so to find a name, you have to use your email program's Search function or copy the entire list into your word-processing program.


Archives: HUMNET is archived at LSU, but to save disk space, the oldest year's messages are occasionally deleted. The archives may be accessed in a number of ways. First, you may retrieve the entire index. Simply send a message to the with the following message:


Make sure that the requests are sent to the listserver, not the list.

Second, you may actually search the archive. Let's assume that you would like to search for all reports on "Stachytarpheta." Send the following message to the listserver:


You will then receive a list of all messages that contain a direct reference to Stachytarpheta. Once you have chosen a message to retrieve, send another request to the listserver as follows:


Most people will want to use the SEARCH feature when reviewing the archives.

Once you have received the index, you may retrieve any message as follows. Send a message to the listserver with the following message: