Birding anecdotes are great fun, but like any oral history, they disappear over time. Sightings reported to eBird are fantastic for data collection and personal lists but can lack rigorous scrutiny. By providing details of rare bird sightings in archival documentation, birders contribute to a collective body of knowledge that spans generations. The intent of the Colorado Bird Records Committee's peer review process is not to validate an individual's sighting or personal list, rather it is to establish a standard for which rare bird reports can be used as scientific-quality data.
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The primary purpose of the committee is to provide a repository for information regarding the records of rare or unusual birds within the state of Colorado. In order to perform this function, the CBRC solicits, collects, assembles, reviews, renders opinions on and permanently archives, in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, all documentation concerning rare and unusual bird records in Colorado. These records are openly available online to anyone.
Record Review Process
Record submissions to the CBRC undergo an intensive committee-review process. The process of peer review used by the CBRC is the same as that used by other ornithological committees from state/province/country bird records committees to the American Ornithological Society's Committee on Classification and Nomenclature. The peer review process is recognized as a legitimate means to transform citizen-based information into scientifically valid data. In its decision-making process, the CBRC uses the standard that information presented in each documentation should stand the test of time. That is, does the information support the reported identification and would someone 50+ years from now who does not know the observer come to the same reasonable conclusion?
Submit a Report
Have you seen a rare or unusual bird in Colorado? Check which species need reports and then submit your observation.
- To solicit, collect and organize records of rare or unusual birds in Colorado. A rare bird "record" is defined as the written report(s), along with all pertinent information, such as a specimen, documentary photographs, videotapes, audio recordings, written "expert" opinion(s) and CBRC member votes and comments in regards to the written report(s).
- To review, evaluate, and assess all records, and to rule on the acceptability of the submitted documentation in supporting the record. There are two principal written accounts resulting from this activity:
- A periodic report, published in Colorado Birds: Quarterly Journal of Colorado Field Ornithologists, describing the activities and opinions of the CBRC.
- An official state list of Colorado birds based on current knowledge and historical evidence archived in the CBRC files. This list shall appear periodically as the Field Check-List of Colorado Birds.
- To establish a permanent file of all records in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This archive shall be maintained in good order by the CBRC and members of the museum staff and shall be open, available, and accessible for review by anyone at any time in the future, taking into account the museum hours of operation and the need for the museum to require notification and permission to enter areas of the museum normally off-limit to the general public. The establishment and maintenance of the CBRC bird records archive is the most important function of the CBRC. The opinions rendered by the CBRC shall be made in good faith and with the best available knowledge at the time. However, the actual archived records shall stand on their own merit and be available to anyone (including future CBRCs) for review.
CBRC members are individuals with extensive experience in bird identification, particularly of birds found in Colorado. The CBRC Chairperson is also a member of the CFO Board of Directors. The committee has at least seven members.
Anyone is eligible to become a CBRC member if, in the opinions of the current members of the CBRC and President of the CFO, that person:
- Demonstrates an expert ability in, and knowledge of, field identification of birds
- Is a member in good standing of the CFO
- Is a supporter of the CBRC (defined as one who regularly submits records to the CBRC) or other state or provincial records committees.
If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact the committee chair.