2014 TBRC Annual Meeting
The 2014 annual meeting of the Texas Bird Records Committee (hereafter committee or TBRC) was held at 11:00 AM on 6 September 2014 at the Biodiversity Researching and Teaching Collections in College Station, Texas. Keith Arnold served as host. Seven members were present in person; two members attended via conference call. One member, Martin Reid, was unable to attend. In attendance were:
● Randy Pinkston, Chair
● Eric Carpenter, Secretary
● Keith Arnold, Academician
● Greg Cook
● Mark Lockwood
● Jim Paton (via conference call)
● Byron Stone
● Tim Fennell
● Mary Gustafson (via conference call)
● Martin Reid (not in attendance)
Belated delivery of gift for Arnold’s 40th anniversary on the TBRC
At the 2012 Annual Meeting, Keith Arnold had been given a plaque to commemorate his 40 years on the TBRC. There were additional plans in progress at the time to also get Keith a painting but those plans fell through. Dennis Shepler made an appearance at today’s meeting and presented Keith with a beautiful Rufous-capped Warbler painting that he had agreed to do and give to Keith for his time on the TBRC. Rufous-capped Warbler is a species that holds a special place for Keith as Keith was part of the group that secured (in Texas) the first specimens of that species in the US.
After the presentation, official business and the annual meeting was convened at 11:10 AM.
Election of Members
Carpenter and Arnold were the only nominees respectively for the Secretary and Academician positions. Stone moved that everyone be re-elected by acclamation. This was seconded by Pinkston and voting was unanimous in favor.
Reid’s 2nd term expired at the Annual Meeting. Nominations for the open position were Petra Hockey (nominated by Pinkston) and Steve Glover (nominated by Cook). Discussions were had about each of the candidates and members votes with Petra Hockey receiving the majority of votes.
Effective at the end of the Annual Meeting, current membership and term of service are as follows:
● Randy Pinkston, Chair - term expires in 2015; can be re-elected
● Eric Carpenter, Secretary (not a Voting Member) - term expires in 2015; can be re-elected
● Keith Arnold, Academician - term is as listed for Secretary; can be re-elected
● Petra Hockey – 1st term expires in 2017, can be re-elected
● Greg Cook - 1st term expires in 2015, can be re-elected
● Mark Lockwood - 1st term expires in 2015, can be re-elected
● Jim Paton - 2nd term expires in 2016
● Byron Stone - 2nd term expires in 2016
● Tim Fennell - 2nd term expires in 2015
● Mary Gustafson - 2nd term expires in 2015
The sequence of members for voting becomes:
Fourth Round Records
There was 1 fourth round records that was discussed and voted on:
2013-023 - Evening Grosbeak
1-2 Mar 2013, Devil's River near Dry Devil's River mouth, Val Verde Co.
not accepted 2-6
Reviewing of subspecies (Lockwood)
Lockwood brought up his concern with having the TBRC solicit/review records of subspecies of various taxa. This concern was brought into focus by recent records of “Russet-backed” Swainson’s Thrush that the committee has reviewed but could be applied to other records/taxa as well. The concern with some of these records is that they may involve details that are difficult to accurately capture or assess in photos or written details. There are subspecies whose field marks might vary only slightly, and in a comparative or relative way, to other subspecies or subspecific groups. Clouding the issue is that there are sometimes intergrades between subspecies. There was a general agreement by the committee with these issues and the overall feeling is that there may be some records/submissions that perhaps can’t be accurately assigned to a subspecies. The consensus was that this would be evaluated on an individual submission basis. Carpenter would let the committee know when such records were submitted and there would be a process where the committee would decide if there was enough details in the submission to come to an informed determination. For records where it was felt that there wasn’t a means to properly determine a subspecies, the committee would archive the record but not vote on it, and would inform the submitter of this outcome. If/when more details are known or as more knowledge comes to light on certain subspecies, such records that are archived but not yet acted on might be reconsidered and brought up for a vote.
Egyptian Goose status (Pinkston)
A discussion was had over the ever increasing presence of Egyptian Geese in Texas. Florida (and the ABA) had recently added Egyptian Geese as “countable”. Even though there are several large groups of these birds in Texas, it still is not on the Texas list. As has been the TBRC’s position on exotics, they are not added to the official state list until they are deemed established via a formal study with quantitative data to support that. It was agreed that the TBRC is not the organization that needs to complete the study but instead, needs to inform interested parties that this is the requirement to get added to the state list. It is seen as a TBRC responsibility to better convey this to the public so that folks are aware of the requirements to add a species to the state list. Carpenter agreed to put together a position statement, have it reviewed by the committee and placed on the TBRC website.
Submission with falsified data (committee)
In October 2013, Carpenter received a TBRC submission containing falsified data. The only photo included in the submission was found to have been taken by someone else outside of Texas. The submitter was informed that the TBRC was aware that the photo wasn’t genuine and the submission was never considered for review.
In light of this, Carpenter compiled a list of TBRC submissions for which that same person had contributed details (photos, audio and/or written details). At the meeting, the committee reviewed the list of these submissions and discussed the details of each to determine if there was a need to re-circulate any records given the knowledge that the same person had falsified a photo on one submission. In an analysis of 32 accepted records (records that were not accepted in the first place were not considered for recirculation) that the person had submitted details for, 27 of those had details and photos submitted by other person(s) (in many cases, multiple independent parties); 2 had written details submitted by other observer(s); 2 others had no other submitted details by other observer(s) but did have photos from the person in question; and, finally, 1 record including only a written description from the person in question and no other details at all from other observers. The committee’s discussion revolved around these last 5 submissions and the details around them. In the end, there was a request to re-circulate the record where the sole documentation was the written description by the person in question. Carpenter indicated he would re-circulate that record.
TBRC Website Status/Update (Carpenter)
Carpenter brought the rest of the committee up to date as to the progress of the new TBRC website. Earlier in the year, TOS member Jim Peterson volunteered a great amount of his time to create a new website and had migrated virtually all the pages, text and photos to it in preparation to launch it. There are still a few minor page updates and edits remaining that Peterson and Carpenter are working on, and there is also going to be some coordination with the TOS board as how to properly set up a separate domain for the TBRC site on the web. The plan is have the current website turned off and the new one turned on in the coming months. Carpenter will keep the rest of the TBRC updated as to the progress.
With no other formal business on the agenda and no Any Other Business items raised, the meeting was adjourned at 12:20 PM.
Secretary, Texas Bird Records Committee