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Record Committees and record keeping rules (2 Viewers)


Active member
I'm a new member to the local Bird Records committee together with several other folks. We're all in our 20s and have only been birding for ~6 years while others in the committee have tons of experience, many with their bins before our parents even met. That being said we're hoping to improve and streamline some aspects of the group and are hoping to gain insights from birders around the world.

1. How do other records committees deal with sightings posted on eBird/other social media platforms?
- We currently have a "Rare Bird Report" Microsoft 97 document that has to be filled in by the observer. Many observers do not submit their records and such rarities with no "official" documents are sometimes ignored by the committee despite having indisputable photographs online. What protocols/workflow do other committees employ for such sightings?

2. What counts as a "reliable" record?
a) Most records today are substantiated with photographs and sound recordings but not so for old ones. Some old rarities had excellent notes/sketches to serve as primary documentation, while others were simply seen by a "reliable observer". Other records used to have notes and were apparently verified by committee members back then, but these documentation have all somehow been lost, causing sightings to be unverifiable today. How do other committees deal with such historic records?
b) What is the threshold for an "acceptable" documentation? The following article I chanced upon from the Colorado Bird Records Committee was one that I found rather convincing (https://cobrc.org/Articles/writingbirddescriptions_leukering.pdf). I'm sure every committee has set their own bar of expectation, curious if there are any guidelines for this.

I have many, many more burning questions but will stop with these two for now. Have done some fair bit of reading but there must be a lot out there that I'm missing, happy to be directed to links/documents available.

Thanks in advance and thanks for reading this long text!

P.S. Technically related to "Birds & Birding" but not quite sure if I'm posting in the correct forum, please direct me to an appropriate one if it isn't!
P.P.S. Understand that this is a topic that might get political. Hoping to keep this as objective as possible.

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