How the Records Committee
The Rare Birds:
The Utah Bird Records Committee reviews
the following bird species:
- Birds on the
List. (This list will change from time to time.
The general rule is to have species seen, on average, less than
twice a year over a ten year period).
- New bird species that have not been documented in
- Birds that are seen out
of their normal range or season. (These birds will be
recorded but not vetted by the Committee.
When a "rare bird" is found, the observer
submits the pertinent sighting
information along with a any photos, and audio or video tapes to the
Records Committee Secretary, who posts
the record on the internet so the nine
voting members of the committee can
review it to see whether it can be accepted as an
official sighting for Utah.
(This does not decide whether the species reported was actually
seen or not, just whether there is adequate documentation to
be included on the Committee's official rare bird sightings).
Records Committee Procedures:
When a sight record is received, it is
presented to the committee for a "1st round" of reviews. In the first
round the voting members can either accept the record, or reject
it for any of three reasons: (1) the identification was not
sufficiently established by the documentation, (2) the species was
not shown to be naturally occurring or (3) establishment of a
naturally breeding population has not been established. ( see
section IV.C.3 of the Bylaws).
So the review is completely independent, votes and comments from the first round are not shared
with other voting members until the round is completed.
The decision in the first round has to be unanimous -- if any
reviewer has reservations or questions about a record, it can
be sent to a second round.
In the "2nd round" votes and comments
from the first round are presented to
the committee. With new input from other members, a second review
of the record is conducted yielding new votes and comments. A
final decision is made if at least 6 of 9 members (or
a greater proportion) are in agreement.
If the vote in the 2nd round is "non-decisive" (receiving
fewer than 6 votes either way) the record goes to a "3rd round" where the comments
and "arguments" from the previous rounds are consider before a
final vote is taken. If the record is accepted by a simple
majority of the voting members then the record will be accepted as an
official sighting for Utah and placed on the
official sightings list,
otherwise it will be placed on the "Comprehensive
List of Rare Birds Sightings" list, which includes official
sightings plus undocumented and other unofficial sightings.
(For all the details, see the UBRC Bylaws).
A Utah Bird
Records Committee Report is periodically prepared summarizing
all of the records reviewed by the committee. The report will be
published in the Records Committee web pages
and in any appropriate publication that may request to print it.
The Records Committee also publishes a
bird checklist for Utah which
includes all birds that have been documented in Utah along with
"abundance" and "status" codes which describe how common
a bird is and in what season of the year it is usually found in Utah.