Canada warbler @Nic Minetor

If you’re fairly new to birding and to the Rochester Birding Association, you may not be aware that RBA is part of a greater whole—a network of birding clubs across the state of New York. In fact, for the last 80 years, the New York State Ornithological Association (NYSOA) has served to unite birders and ornithologists from every part of the state, bringing us newsletters about birds and birding, a records committee that reviews rare bird sightings for accuracy and validity, the official New York State bird checklist, and much more.

It’s worth checking out the website at to see all of the programs and activities NYSOA offers. I just attended the annual meeting and conference in Oswego, and I heard about some things I did not know existed, so I’d like to share them with you here.

Any birder in New York State can submit their state list to the NYSOA County & State Listing Project (, and receive an embroidered patch for seeing 200 or 300 bird species in the state. Lists can also be submitted by county. Just two people have seen birds in all 62 counties, but a number of folks have seen birds in as many as 40 counties. If you’ve been birding in New York State for a long time and you like to travel around the state to see different birds, you may want to submit your New York life list for NYSOA review. (You don’t have to be a member to participate in this—all birders are welcome.)

If you’ve seen a rare bird in the state and you would like your name to be associated with it in perpetuity, you can make a contribution to science by submitting a report to the New York State Avian Records Committee (NYSARC). This hardworking committee of experts reviews every rare bird record in New York State, and makes decisions on the acceptability of these reports as actual rare bird sightings. You can read more about NYSARC at, learn more about which species are considered rare and are therefore reportable at, and learn how to document a rare bird and submit your report at .

NYSOA also provides a way to recognize people who are lucky enough to have a rare bird visit them, and who open their property to birders to see it. (For the record, RBA sends out certificates of appreciation to folks who do this as well.) So if you know of someone who has been especially generous with access for birders during a rare bird event, you can submit their information to NYSOA at For more information on this, visit and scroll down to Certificates of Appreciation.

The Checklist of the Birds of New York State, a must-have document for any New York birder, is available here: You can download and print the checklist, or order a pocket-sized booklet as you prefer. NYSARC reported at the annual meeting that a new checklist will be produced in 2023, though it will be some time before this project reaches completion.

Check out NYSOA and see how you can connect with this important organization. Every birder can make a difference by reporting sightings, learning how to ensure accuracy, sharing your state list, and participating in all of the other programs offered at the state level. Good luck and good birding!