Updated Unusual Bird Report template

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
Colin Miskelly
Posts: 643
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:31 pm

Updated Unusual Bird Report template

Postby Colin Miskelly » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:29 am

Hi folks

I hope that you are all familiar with the process for reporting rare vagrant birds (or birds seen outside their expected range).

Most reports receive by the Birds New Zealand Records Appraisal Committee are received via the online reporting form:

https://www.osnz.org.nz/webforms/online-reporting-form

Another option is to fill in a template and submit this to the RAC secretary as an email attachment. Until recently, the template provided for this used columns, and was (to put it bluntly) a pain in the arse to use, as the column format corrupted content.

In response to user demand, we have simplified the template, and added a few fields so that it is closer to the online reporting form. The new Word template can be accessed via the 'Rare and vagrant birds' page on the Birds New Zealand website:

https://www.osnz.org.nz/rarebirds.htm

It is near the bottom of the page, under RAC resources / Unusual Bird Report forms / UBR form in Word (RTF) format

Regards
Colin
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imogen
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:05 pm

Re: Updated Unusual Bird Report template

Postby imogen » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:27 pm

Thanks Colin

At the moment it is taking up to 6 months to get UBRs reviewed. Is there anything in place to get this process moving quicker? By the time I get a decision, I've forgotten what it is for!
Colin Miskelly
Posts: 643
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:31 pm

Re: Updated Unusual Bird Report template

Postby Colin Miskelly » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:19 pm

Hi Imogen

Thanks for this feedback, though I am surprised that you think the process is taking up to 6 months. The committee has been doing a good job of keeping to notified timelines lately.

Batches of submissions are sent to members every 2 months (at the end of Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct and Dec). Members have 2 months to make independent comments, which are collated and sent to the convenor during the following 2-monthly cycle. I try to write the draft response letters within 1-2 weeks (though it can be a challenge - I am currently working on 31 response letters from the latest batch, and we send these out when all are complete, rather than drip-feeding them as each is written).

Depending on when within the 2-month cycle an Unusual Bird Report is received, it should receive a response within 2.5 to 4.5 months.

We occasionally hit problems if either the secretary or myself are in the field and offline at the time of a deadline, in which case we send an email to submitters apologising for the delay and indicating when the responses are expected to be sent. This has happened once in the past 12 months.

In theory the process could be sped up (e.g. assessing smaller batches every month, with a one-month turn around), but there has been little enthusiasm for this when discussed among RAC members. Part of the reason for this is that it is common for field biologists to be offline for a month or more. There are six people in the team to co-ordinate, and so we would inevitably fail to meet deadlines more often than is currently the case if we tried to work to a quicker turn-around.

Cheers
Colin

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