Date: 6/1/18 3:28 pm
From: Thomas Benson <tbenson...> [CALBIRDS] <CALBIRDS-noreply...>
Subject: RE: [CALBIRDS] CBRC review and request for documentation

eBird and the CBRC are two separate entities. Submitting documentation to one does not mean you have submitted documentation to the other. The CBRC reviews records of statewide significance, and we maintain our own archives so that we or others are able to review that documentation at a later date if necessary. If we relied on eBird to archive our documentation, there is the possibility that a user could delete his/her photos or checklists, or alter the descriptions, defeating the purpose of an archive. There is no plan to “merge these processes” in the future.


Thomas A. Benson
Secretary, California Bird Records Committee

From: T.G. Miko [mailto:<tgmiko...>]
Sent: Friday, June 1, 2018 3:11 PM
To: Thomas Benson <TBenson...>
Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] CBRC review and request for documentation

Tom et Al,
I apologise for this question if I, or others have asked this in the past:
If we posted photos into our eBird entries, why do you need our photos or written descriptions? Is there a plan to merge these processes in the future?
Tom Miko
Claremont LA County

On Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 2:51 PM Thomas Benson <tbenson...><mailto:<tbenson...> [CALBIRDS] <CALBIRDS-noreply...><mailto:<CALBIRDS-noreply...>> wrote:

California birders,

The California Bird Records Committee (CBRC) will begin reviewing the following records in late June. If you have any documentation to submit for these records, please do so as soon as possible. Feel free to forward this request to local listservs as appropriate. Thank you.


Thomas A. Benson
Secretary, California Bird Records Committee

King Eider 2018-008 4 Jan 2018 Sutro Baths SF (single observer, documentation complete)
Buff-collared Nightjar 2018-029 28 Mar 2018 Corona RIV (single observer, documentation complete)
Marsh Sandpiper 2018-033 15-21 Apr 2018 Yolo Bypass YOL (documentation from 4 observers, add’l doc. requested)
Thick-billed Murre 2018-004 9-19 Mar 2018 Redwood Nat’l Park DN (single observer, documentation complete)
Black Vulture 2018-012 22-29 Jan 2018 Doran Reg. Park SON (no documentation received, documentation requested)
Black Vulture 2018-023 15 Feb-6 Mar 2018 Davenport/Ano Nuevo SCZ/SM (documentation from 3 observers, add’l doc. requested)
Black Vulture 2018-024 12 Feb 2018 Bolinas MRN (single observer, documentation complete)
Blue-headed Vireo 2018-027 14 Feb-27 Mar 2018 LA River LA (documentation from 3 observers, add’l doc. requested)
Golden-winged Warbler 2018-045 22 May 2018 Zzyzx SBE (single observer, documentation complete)
Grace’s Warbler 2018-042 5 May 2018 Blue Ridge LA (single observer, documentation complete)

What kind of documentation should one submit to the CBRC? Following are some guidelines for submitting media and written descriptions that will be useful for helping the CBRC evaluate records and archive documentation. Documentation may be submitted directly to the secretary via email (<secretary...><mailto:<secretary...>) , or by using the online submission form (

Media: This includes photos, audio recordings, and video. Photographs are usually the most useful documentation for evaluating records. If you have reasonably good (=identifiable) photos, please submit them. If possible, please crop the photos before submission so that the bird fills most of the frame. Also, please send originals whenever possible, and not screenshots or back-of-camera photos. How many photos should you submit? That really depends on the record. If it is a long-staying rarity that is easily identifiable and seen by dozens of people, then a few photos (1-3 per person) are sufficient. If it is a mega-rarity that is difficult to identify and only seen by a one or few people, then send as many photos as possible that show the bird at different angles, postures, lighting, etc. Sometimes it is also useful to submit audio and/or video recordings of the bird, as some birds are more easily identified by their vocalizations. If relatively short, most audio recordings are small enough to be submitted via email; please submit those along with a brief note indicating the date and location of the recording. Large audio files and video files can be submitted by using a file sharing service; please contact the secretary if you need to submit a file that is too large for email.

Written descriptions: Some written details should always be provided – even the best photos should be accompanied by the name of the observer, the date, and the location, at a minimum. Sometimes a photo can’t be obtained or vocalizations can’t be recorded. In some cases, behaviors might be noted in the field that aren’t preserved well by photos. In these cases, it is helpful to submit a written description of the bird. Ideally, this description should be written as soon after observing the bird as possible; it is often helpful to make written notes in the field, or even dictate notes into the voice recorder on your smartphone while observing the bird, from which you can later generate a written description. The most important aspect of a written description is that you report only what you observed, and not a general description of the bird from a field guide. At a minimum, your description should include the date and location of the observation, and a description of the bird (size and structure, plumage, vocalizations, behavior). A brief discussion of how the bird was identified, and how similar species were eliminated is also helpful. Other useful information you might report includes optics used, distance from bird, lighting or weather conditions, length of time viewed, and other observers present.

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