Rarities Committees

In order to collect and verify the records of rare birds most European countries have established rarities committees with experts on bird identification. Observers send their documented reports on rarities to these committees for scrutinisation. Records accepted by the relevant RC are usually published in annual reports.
Although some differences exist in the way different committees operate, their work is conducted generally in a similar manner. It may be summmarized in the following: 5-9 members vote on the validity of the record that had been sent either simultaneously to the members or had been passed along in sequence with added notes by the committee members. The secretary summarizes the votes based on the returned comments. The record gets accepted or rejected in clear cases in the first round but, in more difficult cases, it will be recirculated for further comments. Depending on the country, each national committee evaluates 100-400 records per annum.
A rare bird in one country may be a common breeder in another and vice versa, so the list of birds to be reported varies from committee to committee. Birdwatchers travelling abroad are advised therefore to check the rarities list of the destination country so they will be prepared to take field notes if a rarity is observed.
Reports should preferably be sent in the country's official language but most committees proccess records submitted in major foreign languages (preferably still in English or German). A list with the addresses of national rarities committees can be found on this web site.