In 1981 the Tennessee Birds Record Committee (TBRC) was established and charged with maintaining the official list of the Tennessee birds and ensuring that sightings of rare species are accurately and adequately documented for posterity.

The TBRC committee includes six voting members and one alternate. Members are chosen as the most qualified to serve on the committee and can serve consecutive 2-year terms. Acceptance criteria for a bird record requires at least 5 out of 6 votes by the committee. Additional responsibilities of the TBRC include defining and maintaining a set of status codes to indicate the abundance and frequency of occurrence of each species within Tennessee and acting upon all submitted reports in a timely fashion.

All correspondence including completed report forms should be sent to Graham Gerdeman, Secretary of Committee.

Cerulean Warbler by Dave Hawkins

Current Committee Members

  • Graham Gerdeman, Secretary

  • Chris Sloan, Member

  • Beth Schilling, Member

  • Michael Smith, Member

  • Mark Greene, Member

  • Ron Hoff, Member

  • Jeff Walck, Alternate

Current Additions of the TBRC Checklist

Added between 2016-2020

  • Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria

  • Hooded Oriole, Icterus cucullatus

  • Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster

  • Northern Wheatear, Oenanthe Oenanthe

  • Bohemian Waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus

  • Great-tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanos

  • Trumpeter Swan, Cygnus buccinator

  • Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris

  • Common Eider, Somatheria mollissima

  • Bronzed Cowbird, Molothrus aeneus

  • Great Kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratur, (Provisional)

  • Ferruginous Hawk, Buteo regalis

  • Cave Swallow, Petrochelidon fulva (no longer provisional)

  • Black-capped Petrel, Pterodroma hasitata

  • Brown Noddy, Anous stolidus

  • Virginia’s Warbler, Leiothlypis virginiae

  • Crested Caracara, Caracara cheriway

History of the TBRC

Following a proposal by Charles Nicholson at the 1981 Tennessee Ornithological Society (TOS) Fall Meeting, a resolution forming the TOS Certification Committee was unanimously passed at the 1982 TOS Spring Meeting (Stallings 1982).  The committee was charged with compiling an official list of all bird species documented to have occurred within the state.  The Certification Committee consisted of one regular member and one alternate from each of the three Grand Divisions of the state with the editor of The Migrant acting as Chair (ex-officio).  The first edition of the Official List was published in The Migrant in 1983 (Nicholson 1983).

In 1987, Stephen Stedman and John Robinson wrote a comprehensive guide to documenting bird sightings. Many of the guidelines presented in their article still hold true today and may be referred to by those submitting a rare bird sighting.

At the 1989 TOS Fall Meeting, following a proposal by Richard Knight, a resolution was passed that changed the name of the committee to the Tennessee Bird Records Committee and specified that the committee chair be selected by the committee members (Robinson 1989).

A resolution at the 1994 TOS Spring Meeting redefined the membership of the TBRC to include five members and one alternate (to vote on any record submitted by a TBRC member).  Also, geographical restrictions requiring that the membership represent all three Grand Divisions of the state were lifted in favor of insuring that the most-qualified persons are selected to serve, no matter where they may reside (Hatcher 1994).

Dixon Merritt

Dixon Merritt

Further changes were adopted in a resolution at the 1998 TOS Spring Meeting following a proposal by Chris Sloan aimed at increasing the responsibilities of the TBRC and bringing the committee more in-line with records committees of other states.  Specific changes to the TBRC included increasing the membership to six voting members and one alternate, allowing members to serve consecutive terms, and changing acceptance criteria to require at least five (out of six) votes to accept a record.  Geographic restrictions on membership were once again put in place.  New responsibilities of the TBRC included defining and maintaining a set of status codes to indicate the abundance and frequency of occurrence of each species within Tennessee and acting on all submitted reports (whereas formerly only the first three reports of a species in the state were solicited and acted upon) (Martin 1998).

Ben Lula Coffey
Swift Banding by Lula Coffey
Early Birders by Webb Monk
Ganier Mayfield swan 1952 photo Paul A Moore