The Iowa Records Committee was formed in 1982 to evaluate all evidence of birds in the state from the earliest literature to the present time and beyond (see "When Is A Bird In Iowa?" by Tom Kent). The committee's work provides a solid, scientific baseline for monitoring the status and distribution of species throughout the state. The committee works closely with the seasonal field reports editors, eBird reviewers, and others by reviewing unusual species and unusual dates to determine if enough evidence exists to enter the report into the permanent record. This permanent record is stored in the cloud through this website and at the Iowa State University Special Collections Library. Contrary to what some may think, the committee's purpose is not to pass judgment on the validity of an particular sighting but rather on the evidence provided for future reasearchers. To better understand the process of how the Records Committee operates, please take a few minutes to review our Operations Manual.
Reporting by individuals, through the seasonal field reports (including eBird data) and documenting rare birds, is critical to building our knowlege base on species occurrence and distribution. These reports have shown us the rather abrupt retraction of formerly regular but irruptive species like Evening Grosbeak to the influx of more southern species like White-winged Dove which has gone from accidental to nesting in the last decade.
Check out our reports to learn more about the rare birds recorded in Iowa.