History of The Idaho Bird Records Database
It all started around 1984 when my husband and I got two Kpro4 computers with various programs, including dbase. We were looking for projects and thought about creating a dbase file to put all my bird sightings in. My husband Keith created a database file and we took all my field notebooks and put in my sightings. That done we starting adding my birding friends sightings and from there gathered sightings from various sources.
Some of these sources included:
- The Pygmy Owl (newsletter of the Spokane Audubon Society), the Prairie Owl (newsletter of the Palouse Audubon Society), and Bird Notes (a newsletter from Lewiston/Clarkston birding group) all posted monthly recent bird sightings.
- We added most all of the records from Birds of Idaho by Thomas Burleigh published in 1972. “Birds of Idaho” is the source of all the very early records including the Passenger Pigeon that was collected in Pack River (Bonner County) on June 17, 1860.
- We subscribed to American Bird incorporating Audubon Field Notes published by the National Audubon Society in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I have collected issues from December 1971 to February 2013. However it changed to Field Notes in 1993, and in 1999 it became North American Birds: A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record published by the American Birding Association. The Idaho and Western Montana report section is currently written by David Trochlell. We would go through each issue and add records to the database. These issues also included CBC so they went into the database.
- We also added all the Breeding Bird Surveys that we found online.
- Daniel Stephens asked me to be co-author of Idaho Bird Distribution published in 1997. My database was geared toward the northern part of the state and Daniel the southern part of the state. After publication we incorporated all of Daniel’s records in with mine.
- When I was asked to be on the Idaho Bird Records Committee, I added all the rare bird reports.
When the IBLE and Inland-nw-Birders listserves started reporting sightings and eBird came along it was time to retire from this project. It would take more than the two of us to keep up with all the sightings being reported. Records were added a few at a time over years. There are currently 187,712 sighting records in the database. Today we only add rare bird reports and an occasional North Idaho sighting that is on the rare side.
The Idaho Bird Records Committee and the Idaho birding community are indebted to Shirley for her decades of effort to document species occurance in the state, and for her countless hours devoted to organizing and preserving the information so it is available to the public.