6. Publications & Archive

6.1    Annual Report

Accepted and Not Proven records are published in the Committee’s annual “Report on rare birds in Great Britain” in British Birds. This report is usually published in October following the year under review. Publication of all rarity records in one journal greatly facilitates analyses of their occurrences in the region covered.

For every accepted record details are given that include county & location, full dates, number of birds and their age/sex if known, observer names and the information that was available (such as photo or DNA analysis). For each taxa statistics are given for both historical (pre-1950) and BBRC-era (post 1950) records, along with a short comment on the current trend of occurrences for that taxa. Also each year a more detailed ‘species comment’ is given for about 50 taxa.

6.2    Rarities Committee news and announcements

A second publication ‘Rarities Committee news and announcements’ appears regularly in British Birds and covers general matters relating to the Committee’s work, much of which stem from discussions at its AGM (see Section 3.1) The committee, via the Chairman and Secretary, also issues press releases and announcements to birding information services, about its work.

6.3    Published notes on Firsts for Britain

Full details of first records of species for Britain are published in British Birds. Observers are asked to prepare suitable notes for publication but in the rare cases where these are not forthcoming, a committee member or British Birds editorial board member may prepare one from the submitted details. Such notes provide a valuable identification reference for species whose field characters may be little known.

6.4    From the Rarities Committee Files

Having a central repository of rarity descriptions and their assessment, including opinions on difficult records, can be an asset when looking at identification issues. An important offshoot of the Committee’s work is the promotion and publication of notes and papers to clarify these areas. Some may take the form of an analysis of a species characteristics whilst others may be about an individual record. Some particularly good descriptions of especially rare or hard-to-identify species may be published as a standard to which others may aspire.

All publications are under the title “From the Rarities Committee Files” and acknowledge the committee’s sponsorship.

6.5    The BBRC Archive

6.5.1 Location

The central repository of paper rarity records is maintained at the BTO Headquarters at Thetford. The archive of electronic records is retained by the Secretary and Chairman.

6.5.2 Use of Records

Descriptions of rarities in the Committee’s files are available to any bona-fide researcher or organisation. Requests for their use should be sent to the Secretary with a brief outline of the purpose, objectives and expected outputs from the use of the descriptions. The Chairman and Secretary will considered all requests on their individual merits. The committee reserves the right to levy a charge for the use of descriptions in certain cases.

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