INTRODUCTION.--Rarities occur regularly, and some birders are very interested in them and their validity. Accordingly, it can be important to try to document records of rarities. The issues surrounding defining what constitutes a rare species and the importance of also documenting rare unseasonal species are examined in detail on p. 389 of the Background of the Birds of Lincoln County Project, and Recommendations for Others Planning Similar Projects (1995 Journal of Oregon Ornithology 4:353-394).
Below, *1 is an example of a cover letter requesting details for an Oregon Bird Records Committee (OBRC) Review Species that by definition is also a Lincoln County Review Species. It is important that observers send a report to the OBRC so that they can act on it--that is the first priority, and a letter like *1 encourages an observer to fill out a form and send it to the OBRC. It (*1) also reminds an observer to provide a copy of their OBRC report to local data compilers. Because there are many species that are rare in a local area such as Lincoln County but are not OBRC Review Species, example *1 needs to be modified accordingly for some species that are locally rare. Further, some species are rare during certain seasons (e.g., swallows in winter) and the *1 cover letter could be adapted to request details for them.
Example *2 is the actual data form for details of a rare or unseasonal species; it is based on the OBRC Rare Bird Report Form found in Oregon Birds.
The purpose of these data forms is to serve as examples in setting up your own data forms.
*1. Example of a letter requesting details for an OBRC Review Species. This example could be modified for a species rare only in Lincoln County or for a rare unseasonal species.
As part of the "Birds of Lincoln County Project," I have been trying to compile details about rarities, such as the ?? you saw on ??.
This species is an Oregon Bird Records Committee (OBRC) Review Species and also a Lincoln County Review Species. If you could share some details about your sighting in your own style or on the enclosed OBRC form or on the enclosed Report Form for Lincoln County Review Species, it would be greatly appreciated.
Because ?? is an OBRC Review Species, I suggest that you submit your details to the OBRC, but please also send me a copy for our local records. If you choose to not submit this sighting to the OBRC, I hope that you will at least send details to me for the "Birds of Lincoln County Project."
Thanks for your time and consideration.
Please don't be offended by being asked for details about your sighting of a rarity. You are not being picked on--if possible, everyone that sees a Lincoln County Review Species (i.e., one with 10 or fewer records in the past 10 years) or Rare Unseasonal Species (i.e., one with 10 or fewer records for a particular season)(e.g., Barn Swallows in winter) will be asked for details.
It is important to report details of rare birds. Otherwise, undocumented claims by even expert birders will be viewed sceptically 20 years or more from now.
Please document your sighting in your own way or fill out as much of this form as possible. Please send details to the address at the bottom of the form.
1) Your name:
2) Identification of rarity:
3) Date of rarity sighting:
4) Location and habitat of rarity sighting:
5) Was the rarity photographed or was a tape recorder used to record its songs?
6) Approximate distance from rarity during observations:
7) Observation conditions (e.g., quality of lighting, weather):
8) Power and kind of optical equipment used:
9) Length of time that rarity was observed:
10) Your previous experience with rarity:
11) References used in making this identification:
12) Names of other observers of rarity:
13) Number of rare birds:
14) Sex and/or age-class of rarity:
15) List details of the bird's shape, plumage, bill, relative size next to other species, voice, behavior, or field marks that identify this bird as this species rather than any other (a sketch would be helpful). Use drawing of bird in front of field guides to identify parts of a bird's anatomy. Use back of this sheet or another sheet if necessary.
Please send details to Range Bayer (PO Box 1467, Newport, OR 97365).