Illinois Birders' Forum

General Discussion => Discussion => : Geoffrey A. Williamson March 24, 2015, 11:49:00 AM

: IORC News 2015
: Geoffrey A. Williamson March 24, 2015, 11:49:00 AM
This is an update on recent news and activities of the Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC). As I believe it likely to be the case that some of you are unfamiliar with IORC, I will start with an overview of the committee and a little of its history, and then get to its current membership and recent decisions on bird records.

IORC is a standing committee of the Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS - http://www.illinoisbirds.org (http://www.illinoisbirds.org)) whose major purposes are to

Part and parcel to these purposes is the evaluation of documentary evidence submitted to IORC as to whether that evidence (specimens, photographs, video, audio recordings, written descriptions, etc.) is sufficient to conclude the identification to type of bird (and that it occurred naturally and in Illinois). Records are either "accepted" if the committee feels the evidence is indeed sufficient, or "unaccepted" if not. In either case, the evidence and its evaluation are archived for examination and use by future students of Illinois's bird life, and in some cases by the committee itself in reassessing an earlier decision.

The typical case is that of a birder observing a species on IORC's "Review List" and then submitting documentation of their sighting to IORC. The Review List is a list of species for which IORC requests such documentation. The Review List, documentation forms (both written and electronic), and information about IORC can be found on IORC's web page (http://www.illinoisbirds.org/illinois-ornithological-records-committee/ (http://www.illinoisbirds.org/illinois-ornithological-records-committee/)).

IORC's formation dates back to 1985, when a Steering Committee of the Illinois Audubon Society set about defining IORC's formal structure and procedures. You might recognize some of the members of this steering committee: H. David Bohlen, Joel Greenberg, David B. Johnson, Dennis Jones, Vernon M. Kleen, Richard Palmer, and John C. Robinson (secretary). The first officially elected IORC was constituted in fall of 1986 and held its first meeting on 1 Feb 1987. These inaugural elected members were Richard Biss, H. David Bohlen, Ronald E. Goetz (secretary), Vernon M. Kleen, Joesph B. Milosevich, Richard Palmer, and Sue Stroyls. From 1985 to today, IORC has evaluated about 1900 bird records.

As at its inception, IORC today operates with seven individuals: six members who serve staggered three year terms, and a secretary who is elected annually by the members. The 2015 makeup of IORC is Josh Engel, Dan Kassebaum, Greg Lambeth (vice-secretary), Keith McMullen, Doug Stotz, Paul Sweet, and Geoff Williamson (secretary). Here are six of the seven members at the recent IORC meeting on 18 Jan 2015 at the Field Museum of Natural History (near side of table: Greg Lambeth; far side of table, left to right, Josh Engel, Doug Stotz, Paul Sweet, Keith McMullen, Dan Kassebaum).

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-PA0ZKQCiiUk/VRFqupm_BKI/AAAAAAAACOg/fyiq56VWh0s/s1024/IORC_2015-01-18_a.jpg)

One of the benefits for IORC of meeting at the Field Museum is ready access to the musuem's collection. Here some of the committee members (left to right: Doug Stotz, Paul Sweet, Dan Kassebaum, Greg Lambeth) at a tray of skins of Pacific-slope, Cordilleran, and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, including a specimen that is sure to become the state's first accepted record of "Western Flycatcher" (the complex that includes both Pacific-slope and Cordilleran), if not decided at the species level, once IORC deliberations are concluded.

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-1gxGrl_3it4/VRFqu_LZHPI/AAAAAAAACOk/WOwiUC6PlT8/s1024/IORC_2015-01-18_b.jpg)

Finally, here are some recent IORC decisions on records. Our intention is to report periodically to the Illinois birding community, unofficially via this medium, our recent decisions. The official reports of IORC are published annually in the IOS journal Meadowlark.

Accepted Records
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Joshua Little March 24, 2015, 12:17:25 PM
Huh, a Western Tanager that stayed over a week would have been nice to know about.

Thanks for the report!
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Geoffrey A. Williamson March 24, 2015, 12:20:11 PM
The tanager was coming to a bird feeder for about a week.  News reached the broader birding community only after the bird was gone.  It happens some time!
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Steve Huggins March 24, 2015, 12:30:08 PM
So still no decision on the Chicago Elaenia then Geoff - what is the current committee thinking on this record?
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Geoffrey A. Williamson March 24, 2015, 12:43:48 PM
The decision regarding the elaenia remains at present as acceptance as Small-billed/White-crested Elaenia.  Should a decision at the species level be to accept as Small-billed Elaenia, this would be a first continental record so that we are proceeding "deliberately."  We recognize there is a lot of interest in this, but we are still gathering formal external input, communicated directly to IORC.
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Fran Morel March 24, 2015, 01:32:26 PM
This is great, Geoff.  Thanks for the updates.  Just curious, were any records not accepted and what's the communication protocol on those?
: Re: IORC News 2015
: suefriscia March 24, 2015, 01:53:10 PM
The tanager was at a feeder that butted up to the forest preserves, the owner didn't want anyone to come into the gated community but we could have seen it from the preserves. I heard about it on Sunday and searched without knowing exactly where and it was, it last seen on Monday, it only I knew where the feeder was before it left. so close yet so far.

;-(
Sue Friscia
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Michael Retter March 24, 2015, 04:27:00 PM
Great job, IORC. Three cheers for transparency!
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Keith A. McMullen March 25, 2015, 07:27:55 PM
Thanks for sharing, Geoff. Good stuff. Photos aren't bad either, except I look like I might have been napping. I promise, I wasn't!  :) :)

I might have been checking IBET for updates on the Kane County BARROW'S GOLDENEYE which little did I know would reappear a couple weeks later (thanks Eric!) and another bird would grace Carlyle Lake, just this past weekend and is still there today!!!!

Good birdings,

Keith
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Josh Engel March 26, 2015, 08:41:36 AM
Here are photos of the Western Tanager in Palos Heights by Carl Peter England (posted with permission).
: Re: IORC News 2015 -- 2nd Installment
: Geoffrey A. Williamson April 14, 2015, 08:37:12 PM
This is the 2nd installment for 2015 on news and activities of the Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC).

IORC is a standing committee of the Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS - http://www.illinoisbirds.org (http://www.illinoisbirds.org)) whose major purposes are to


Information about IORC can be found on IORC's web page (http://www.illinoisbirds.org/illinois-ornithological-records-committee/ (http://www.illinoisbirds.org/illinois-ornithological-records-committee/)).

Below I will be reporting recent decisions on records submitted to the committee.

But before getting to the records, allow me to commend Paul Sweet for his service as IORC secretary during the period covering 2013 and 2014. Paul's keen knowledge of bird identification and distribution served him well as he steered the functioning of the Committee. Simultaneously he was contributing time and effort to other volunteer activities in service of birds and birding, including additional responsibilities for IOS, while also managing the myriad duties of his professional life. This makes his service as IORC secretary all the more commendable. We are happy to have him continue as a member of the Committee. Please join me in expressing appreciation to Paul for the work he's put into this for the last couple of years.

I also want to mention that IORC has undertaken an effort to assess the contents of its archives with the intention of putting most of it into electronic form. A first emphasis will be to address the photographic evidence contained in the archives. A subcommittee of IORC consisting of Greg Lambeth (chair), Josh Engel, and Doug Stotz is spearheading the effort. The subcommittee is also charged with recommending policy for archive content and management, including accessibility to the archives by the public.

Now for the records.



Records Accepted:




Records Not Accepted:



: Re: IORC News 2015 -- 3rd installment
: Geoffrey A. Williamson June 14, 2015, 06:26:28 PM
This is an update on recent actions of the Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC). IORC is a standing committee of the Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS - http://www.illinoisbirds.org (http://www.illinoisbirds.org)) whose major purposes are to


The Review List of species for which IORC requests documentation of sightings, documentation forms (both written and electronic), and information about IORC can be found on IORC's web page (http://www.illinoisbirds.org/illinois-ornithological-records-committee/ (http://www.illinoisbirds.org/illinois-ornithological-records-committee/)).


Below are some recent IORC decisions on records. Our intention is to report periodically to the Illinois birding community, unofficially via this medium, our recent decisions. The official reports of IORC are published annually in the IOS journal Meadowlark.

These records are listed as "accepted" or "unaccepted."  In a round of voting (or "circulation") for a record, if six or seven of IORC's seven voting members vote to accept, the record is accepted.  If three or fewer members vote to accept, the record is considered unaccepted.  When four or five vote to accept, the record is re-circulated for another round of votes.

For accepted records, the names of individuals who submitted documentation to IORC are provided in square brackets.


Accepted Records:


Unaccepted Records:



IORC thanks all the documenters, for accepted and unaccepted records alike, for their submissions. All documentation is maintained in the IORC archives so that there is a permanent record of all these observations.

--
Geoff Williamson
IORC Secretary
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Matthew Cvetas June 14, 2015, 07:16:19 PM
Awesome Geoff. Thanks!

Was the "Western" Flycatcher the Field Museum specimen?
Did the observer photograph the Bullock's Oriole?
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Geoffrey A. Williamson June 14, 2015, 07:58:51 PM
Yes, the Western Flycatcher was the window kill here in Chicago with the specimen in the Field Museum.  See Josh Engel's blog post (http://www.fieldmuseum.org/blog/first-illinois-discovered-field-museums-collection (http://www.fieldmuseum.org/blog/first-illinois-discovered-field-museums-collection)) for more info on that one.

The Bullock's Oriole was a bird coming to a feeder.  There are four photographs (nice, frame-filling ones) associated with this record.
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Amar Ayyash June 14, 2015, 08:15:59 PM
I think much praise is in order here, to IORC, and especially Geoff, for the updates on recent records. Good stuff. Thanks!
: Re: IORC News 2015
: mountjoy June 14, 2015, 10:03:09 PM
Well, if my count is right, 'Western' Flycatcher and Bullock's Oriole should bring the IL list up to 444 species, a nice symmetrical number!  The Bullock's was long overdue, in my opinion, and a western Empidonax of some sort is probably not too big of a surprise for the list.  Maybe we need to revisit predictions for new birds to the state list?

Jim Mountjoy
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Fran Morel June 15, 2015, 04:18:34 AM
very nice to have this communication, Geoff...
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Matthew Cvetas June 15, 2015, 05:32:36 AM
Thanks, Geoff!

Two photos of the first year male Bullock's Oriole are contained within Southern Illinois Audubon's Newsletter from November/December 2014 (http://www.siaudubon.org/news/14-11_SIAS_news.pdf).
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Geoffrey A. Williamson September 10, 2015, 06:13:27 AM
This is the 4th installment for 2015 of news and recent actions of the Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC). IORC is a standing committee of the Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS - http://www.illinoisbirds.org (http://www.illinoisbirds.org)) whose major purposes are to


The Review List of species for which IORC requests documentation of sightings, documentation forms (both written and electronic), and information about IORC can be found on IORC's web page (http://www.illinoisbirds.org/illinois-ornithological-records-committee/ (http://www.illinoisbirds.org/illinois-ornithological-records-committee/)).

Below are some recent IORC decisions on records. Our intention is to report periodically to the Illinois birding community, unofficially via this medium, our recent decisions. The official reports of IORC are published annually in the IOS journal Meadowlark.  For accepted records, the names of individuals who submitted documentation to IORC are provided in square brackets.

These records are listed as "accepted" or "unaccepted."  Records are accepted into the official body of occurrence of birds in the state if voted as acceptable by six or seven of the seven members of IORC. Regardless of whether are not a record is accepted or unaccepted, the evidence submitted remains as part of IORC's archive, thereby preservation the documentation for study and review in the future.

In a number of cases evaluated in this round, birds seen by multiple individuals were documented by only one observer. Typically, and especially when physical evidence (photographs, sound recordings, etc.) is not available, having several written sets of details provides a more complete set of information about the occurrence of a specific bird or birds, with some observers noting features or providing insights that are not present in another observer's write-up, and vice versa. At times, a record that is unaccepted based on a single submitted documentation might have seen a different outcome had more observers written up details. IORC encourages all observers to provide documentation.

Accepted Records:


Unaccepted Records:


IORC thanks all the documenters, for accepted and unaccepted records alike, for their submissions. All documentation is maintained in the IORC archives so that there is a permanent record of all these observations.

Sincerely,
Geoff Williamson
IORC Secretary

: Re: IORC News 2015
: karrinburns September 19, 2015, 04:06:34 PM
Thank you for the update, Geoff.
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Falconstare October 21, 2015, 01:38:56 AM
Thanks for sharing
: Re: IORC News 2015
: Geoffrey A. Williamson December 05, 2015, 09:25:04 AM
This is an update on recent actions of the Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC), the 5th for 2015. IORC is a standing committee of the Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS, http://www.illinoisbirds.org (http://www.illinoisbirds.org)) whose major purposes are to


The Review List of species for which IORC requests documentation of sightings, documentation forms (both written and electronic), and information about IORC can be found on IORC's web page (http://www.illinoisbirds.org/illinois-ornithological-records-committee/ (http://www.illinoisbirds.org/illinois-ornithological-records-committee/)).

Recent additions at the IORC web page are links to IORC's bylaws and a listing of the 19 published IORC reports.  Look to the bottom of the page to find these.  IORC plans to provide active links to all IORC reports; the first few of these are in place.

Below are recent IORC decisions on records. Our intention is to report periodically to the Illinois birding community, unofficially via this medium, our recent decisions. The official reports of IORC are published annually in the IOS journal Meadowlark.  For accepted records, the names of individuals who submitted documentation to IORC are provided in square brackets.

In this set of records, the majority were not accepted. A number of these records went through several rounds of voting. In each round, there are seven votes cast by the voting members of IORC. If the number of votes to accept is six or seven, the record is accepted. If the number of votes to accept is zero to three (majority not to accept), the record is not accepted. With four or five votes to accept, the record is circulated again among the IORC members for another round of voting, with the comments and votes from the prior rounds available to inform that next vote. Multiple circulations of a record are often an indication that the record is not straightforward to evaluate from the submitted documentation. Some of the accepted records also went through multiple rounds of review.

We expect that many individuals are interested in the outcome of the Barnacle Goose record. Despite many sightings in Illinois of birds that were clearly Barnacle Geese, as was the case with this record, Barnacle Goose is not yet on the official state list due to questions of origin of the birds. This current record was not accepted. Nonetheless, the sense of IORC was that a comprehensive look at all available evidence regarding Barnacle Geese in the state should be conducted by the Committee, and we hope to do this in the coming year. Any evidence or information about this species in the state, including about captive birds, would be welcome.

Accepted Records:


Unaccepted Records:


Breeding Records, Not Accepted:


IORC thanks all the documenters, for accepted and unaccepted records alike, for their submissions. All documentation is maintained in the IORC archives so that there is a permanent record of all these observations. Documentation, regardless of the Committee's decision, is a valuable part of the record of bird life in Illinois.

Sincerely,
Geoff Williamson
IORC Secretary