Wednesday, September 17, 2008
In the Mailbox: New Jersey Birds Summer 2008
Yesterday I got the latest issue of New Jersey Birds in the mail. This issue features an article on the first state record of Lesser Nighthawk by Michael O'Brien, as well as a couple of notes by yours truly (Barnacle Goose added to the full State List, Cave Swallow dropped from the Review List).
I'm not writing this post to toot my own horn, though. If you belong to NJ Audubon, you can receive New Jersey Birds as part of your membership at no extra charge. You have to ask for it, though, and it's easy to overlook on your membership renewal form. I'm not sure that there is any organized way to sign up for NJB when becoming a new member, though I would be more than happy to be corrected and hear otherwise. Please comment, if so.
The articles in NJB usually deal with significant avian events such as first state records, or in another example, NJ's first Royal Tern nesting colony (that article was in the spring issue). NJBRC business is also published in the journal; the fall issue always contains the NJBRC Annual Report, along with color photos of some of the rarities that were voted on during the circulation year.
The real meat of NJB (or RNJB to us old-timers, since the journal's name used to be Records of New Jersey Birds) is the sighting reports. NJ is divided into five regions (which are also used in Boyle's A Guide to Bird Finding in New Jersey), each of which has a regional compiler (here's the current list of compilers). You can also look at NJB issues back to fall 2006 as PDFs on this page, though there are many years of previous issues that have not been digitized (hint: snap them up if you stumble across them).
Although we are in a transitional time when it comes to the technology of sharing bird sightings (eBird, anyone?), the framework of regional compilers found in NJ and other states (and upon which North American Birds is also built) is the traditional means for reporting sightings of interest. Looking at past issues of NJB can give you an idea of what observations are particularly interesting in terms of the state's historical record (and no, Review List species are not the only birds of interest). It's certainly easy to send an e-mail to JerseyBirds or post your photos on Flickr, but you'll make compilers' jobs a little easier if you send your observations directly to them as well.