Rare Bird Reports

Grasshopper Sparrow | Bettina Arrigoni

Help Us Document Rare Birds in Florida

You are invited to submit reports for evaluation by the Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee (FOSRC). Documenting rare bird sightings is crucial for conservation and biodiversity monitoring. This information helps researchers understand the distribution and population status of species, guiding conservation efforts. Rare bird data can also serve as indicators of environmental changes, contributing to climate and habitat research. Public awareness is heightened through shared sightings, fostering support for conservation initiatives and contributing to citizen science. Moreover, documenting rare birds can boost ecotourism, benefiting local economies and providing educational opportunities for the public and students.

Brown Pelican | Heather Levy

Submission Guidelines

Reports should be for two categories of species:

1. Naturally occurring species that are new to Florida (do not occur on the Official State List) or

2. Species known to occur in Florida that sufficiently rare or difficult to identify to warrant FOSRC evaluation. Species in this group are annotated with an asterisk in the Official State List of the Birds of Florida.

To submit a Rare Bird Reports, please click on the button below and follow the guidelines. Deliberations of the Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee are published annually in the Florida Field Naturalist.

While in the field, the observer should record a detailed description of all body parts (e.g., bill, legs, and feet, noting size, shape, and colors). Although a specimen or photograph or video and vocal recordings are preferred, a sketch of the bird and vocal descriptions are beneficial. Behavioral traits and the habitat should be described. It is necessary to indicate how all similar species were eliminated (e.g., similar members within a genus), not only those known or suspected to occur in Florida, but also any species that could possibly stray here or possibly escape from captivity. Further information on documenting field observations and preparing a report is available in an excellent manuscript, “How to Document Rare Birds,” offered on the Louisiana Ornithological Society website.

All observations should be submitted to the FOSRC on the standard documentation form. In addition to uniformity, the documentation form provides the Committee and the observer with guidelines to those factors used by the FOSRC for its evaluation. 

Have a Field Observation?

Field observations consist of significant bird observations compiled by the Florida Ornithological Society Field Observations Committee. “Significant” observations include: high numbers of individuals, unusual distribution (i.e., not usually found in that location), or records that are early or late compared to the local or regional historical trends. To submit an observation, please click on the link below. FOS Field Observations include eBird data and independent submissions by individuals. These observations are published quarterly in the Florida Field Naturalist.

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