Reporting Rare Sightings

For most birders there is nothing more exciting and rewarding than finding a rare bird. When a birder finds a rare bird the first thing he or she does is to identify it. That is to say, make sure it really is what you think it is. After that it is time to alert other birders (phone, email) so they can rush to see it (Obeying all traffic laws of course!). It is also very important to properly document the sighting so it can become part of the ornithological record, something that is all too often neglected. By documenting the rarity you can not only share this bird with other birders but you help write Connecticut’s birding history.

Here is an outline of what one should record for any of the species listed on the committee’s Review list or unrecorded for Connecticut ( See CT Checklist or COA Field Checklist, Birds of Connecticut species marked with an asterisk).

  • Species (age and sex, if determined, and number of individuals)
  • Locality (include specific site and town)
  • Date of observation.
  • Time and duration of observation.
  • First and last dates of occurrence (if known).
  • Weather and conditions of observation (e.g., sun, clouds, wind, tide, etc.)
  • Distance from bird.
  • Optics used.
  • Please include the circumstances of how the bird was discovered as well as a detailed description of the bird. Suitable sub-headings would include; General behavior, Size and structure (include comparisons with accompanying/similar species), Head pattern, Upperpart (including wing and tail), Underparts, Bare parts.
  • Discussion on the identification. State positive reasons (based on plumage features) why such an identification was made. State reasons why and how similar/confusion species were ruled out.
  • State previous experience with species (if any).
  • State previous experience with similar/confusion species.
  • Other observers (names and addresses if possible). Do any of the other observers disagree with the identification? Is anyone else reporting it?
  • Was the bird photographed? By Whom?
  • Your address and telephone number.
  • If you have field notes taken of the observation, please include copies to the submission.
  • Sign and date your report.

When you have finished the report, please send it – email or US mail – to either:

Greg Hanisek
175 Circuit Avenue
Waterbury, CT 06708
ctgregh AT


Jay Kaplan
71 Gracey Road
Canton, CT 06019
jaybrd49 AT