Introduction to the Louisiana Bird Records Committee
The Louisiana Bird Records Committee (henceforth LBRC) was established in 1979 to evaluate and archive records of unusual species occurring in Louisiana. The LBRC strives to determine record acceptability to aid in understanding the patterns of occurrence of rarities in the state. Each record (in the form of observers' written reports, copies of field notes, photographs, videotape, tape recordings, or specimens) is reviewed by each of the seven elected Voting Members in accordance with LBRC Bylaws. If a Voting Member is unable to attend an Annual Meeting, their vote at the Meeting is transferred to an Alternate Member. Any particular record may be reviewed at an Annual Meeting, circulated to Voting Members by mail or e-mail, or reviewed directly at the LOS LBRC webpage “View Pending Reports.”
All records submitted to the LBRC are housed in the LBRC record archives at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science (LSUMNS).
The LBRC compiles the official State List. The State List is available at the LOS website. Photographs of some of the state’s accepted records can also be viewed there. The LOS produces field checklists with the State List, which are updated every few years.
The LBRC periodically updates a Review List. As per the LBRC Bylaws, species generally qualify for the Review List if they average four or fewer occurrences annually averaged over the past ten-year period. The Review List is evaluated annually. Some species may currently occur in excess of the “4 per year-averaged over a 10-year period,” but have not been removed from the list either because of insufficient documentation submitted to date been or because there is a lag time in receiving and reviewing documentation. For general information about submitting bird records, see Instructions for Reporting Louisiana Bird Observations at the LOS LBRC webpage.
The LBRC requests documentation for all Review List species and any species new to Louisiana. The LBRC has a standardized reporting form. This form is set up to recover information that is necessary to thoroughly document an observation; hard copy forms may be requested from the Secretary. Observers may also download a template from the LOS website. If you print your own copy, please use archive quality-100% rag paper to submit your record. Observers may also submit reports electronically. A hard copy will later be printed by the Secretary (on 100% rag paper) and placed in the archives. If you are unfamiliar at providing written documentation for a rarity or would like to hone your current skills, Dittmann and Lasley (1992) provide a thorough discussion of how to provide documentation for rarities.
Submission of additional supporting documentation, including photographs, videotape, and tape recordings is strongly encouraged. Original prints or slides are preferred; mail these to Donna Dittmann (LBRC Secretary). The LBRC can scan and return your original images. Duplicates may also be submitted. When submitting electronic images, please do not submit images that have been enhanced, corrected, or otherwise changed from the original image. The committee has the capability to do this when reviewing the images and would like to evaluate the raw image. Submit electronic images to Paul Conover; we can currently accept high quality files of any type: jpeg, gif, tiff, bmp. Video ‘grabs’ may also be submitted.
Records submitted electronically can be seen at “View Pending Reports” at the LOS website. This site allows a submitting observer to view their submitted record online. If any changes are necessary while the record remains at this site, contact Paul Conover and he can make requested changes. Records posted at this site also allow other observers to see which records have been submitted (electronically). We hope that this will stimulate other observers of a particular record to submit additional documentation to create as thorough a file as possible for each record. Records will remain visible at this site only until they are reviewed. Once reviewed, the report is removed from this site and archived. Outcome of the review will be published in a report of the LBRC in the Journal of Louisiana Ornithology. Records will be chosen for review from Pending Records based on their completeness. For example, a single person sight record may be selected for and be reviewed in a relatively short amount of time because all information is present at the website. In contrast, a record with multiple observers and all observers have not submitted documentation, or a record that indicates there is photographic documentation that has not also been submitted, may stay at the website for an extended period awaiting submission of additional documentation. Some or all photos originally submitted electronically of accepted records will be linked to that species on the Documentary Photos page. The LBRC will eventually add other photos to this site from the LBRC archives.