A copy of the NJBRC bylaws, last revised in 2005, can be found here.
Purpose and Goals of the New Jersey Bird Records Committee
By Richard Crossley (1996)
During a recent conversation with a fellow birder, I asked him to submit to the New Jersey Bird Records Committee (NJBRC) a written report of a rarity he had just found. His blunt reply, “What?! So you can tell me if I was correct in my identification?!” caught me by surprise. Who were we, the NJBRC, to tell him whether or not he’d correctly identified this bird! Do you feel the same way as this birder? Many people do. We’d like to try to dispel the myth that our major purpose is to vet your rare bird reports.
It should be stated that most records are not accepted because the committee believes the documentation submitted isinsufficient to support the identification, not that the bird was necessarily misidentified. Records that are not accepted can always be reviewed at a later date.
The goals of the NJBRC and most records committees are:
- To solicit and maintain all data pertaining to records of scarce or rare birds reported in New Jersey. These data are archived to provide reference and research material for birders and ornithologists. Such information (which includes written descriptions, photographs, tape recordings, and committee member’s comments) can be used in many ways, for example, to help delineate age or sex bias, peak periods of occurrence, and changes in status. A committee’s archival function is probably the most important service it offers.
- To establish standards of observation and reporting against which field observers can compare their own technique. It is hoped that the publication of written descriptions will prove an inspiration to some observers, and improve their fieldnote-taking abilities.
- To review reports of species or subspecies, as defined on the Review List, and decide whether there is sufficient documentation to accept the record. This in turn provides a means by which sight records can gain universal acceptance as valuable scientific data.
- To increase knowledge of the birds of New Jersey by publishing data on all of the submitted records and decisions; and to draw up and maintain a New Jersey State List.
These are the goals we are working toward, with the knowledge and help of all New Jersey and visiting birders. Please submit your records of past and present rarities, whether or not you were the finder or the hundredth person to see the bird. In this way, the accuracy and detailed information available on rare birds in New Jersey will be vastly improved.
Richard Crossley, NJBRC Chair (1996-97)