Dr. George Lowery began keeping records of bird observations back in the early days of the Museum of Natural Science. Eventually, he had index cards printed up with data fields and distributed them to observers throughout the state. When an observer had a noteworthy record, he or she would send the card to the museum to be added to the collection.
These pre-printed 3x5 index cards are still used by a few observers, but most have switched over to the digital format (see below). This database of important bird records are filed by species, in taxonomic order, with most recent cards first. The cards have formed the backbone of Louisiana regional reports for the journal North American Birds (formerly called Field Notes, American Birds, and Audubon Field Notes). We estimate that 35,000 cards are on file. They are currently being used by Remsen and Cardiff to compile data and analyze patterns of seasonal distribution for their book on the birds of Louisiana.
With the new electronic format, records are printed out as hard copies on card stock for the filing cabinet and also backed up on our servers. We have started the process of entering all the historical records into a database that is publicly accessible. If you would like to take a trip down memory lane or to gain some historical context of Louisiana's bird life, consider helping us out by entering a few records into the database. The project is password protected for now so contact us if you would like to get involved. The password approach allows us to keep the data safe and know who is participating without creating a user name and password database. The Historical Bird Records Project entry page can be found below. We hope you consider joining the project. A video showing how to enter the data from the scanned cards is at the bottom of the page.
For new records, fill out the form and it will be reviewed by a moderator and added to the database. If you have electronic evidence to support the record, please provide the link in the form or email the material to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We have an Important Bird Records photo pool at Flickr. If you are a Flickr user, consider adding your photos to the pool.
If you're not sure if your sighting is worth submitting, check out the Louisiana Bird Records Committee page for guidance.
Send hard copies of evidence to Louisiana Bird Resource Office at the address below if that is your preference:
Louisiana Bird Resource Office
LSU Museum of Natural Science
119 Foster Hall
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Be sure to put your name, species, date, and location on hard copies so we can include this information with your report.