Buffalo Ornithological Society
The study of the birds of the Niagara Frontier Region
Home Fieldtrips Meetings Membership Publications Grants Bird Counts Contacts
The Prothonotary


The Prothonotary

Since 1935 the Society publication, The Prothonotary, has provided a monthly summary of regional bird activity, relevant weather and a list of noteworthy records together with articles, field trip reports, and meetings and field trip schedules.

The Prothonotary is published monthly but the Buffalo Ornithological Society, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo NY 14211. Send subscriptions and address changes to the Corresponding Secretary, Karen Landau, S-9195 State Road, Colden, NY 14033. The regular subscription rate is $20/year. Back issues are available from the Treasurer for $1.50/issue.

Editor: Jack Skalicky, 25 Presidents Walk, Williamsville, NY 14221,

Ed. Consultants: Robert Andrle, Gerry Rising, Bill Watson

Production: Audrey Horbett and Eileen Hull

Seasonal Checklist

The Seasonal Checklist Committee
David F. Suggs, Chairman
William C. D'Anna
Michael A. Davis
Lynne Landon
Michael M. Morgante
William W. Watson
William Weikert
David F. Suggs
Michael Hamilton
Larry Szantor

Seasonal Checklist of the Birds
The Niagara Frontier Region

$3.00 payable to BOS.

Please contact Tom O'Donnell at

From the Foreword

The Seasonal Checklist Committee of the Buffalo Ornithological Society was formed to produce a reference guide for birders describing bird migration in the Niagara Frontier Region. Combining almost forty years of data from the society's records with personal field experience, the committee has created a guide that illustrates what species may be expected throughout the year.

The committee developed definitions and timelines to describe the likelihood of finding a species in suitable habitat. Members prepared timelines for individual sets of species based on the society's records and other relevant publications. As needed, challenging species were presented to the entire committee to draw conclusions. The complete set of timelines were compiled and then reviewed by all committee members. The chairman incorporated suggested changes into the final edition.

Many of the species comment lines reference "B&M", denoting the 1965 publication Birds of the Niagara Frontier Region by Beardslee and Mitchell. The term "modern records" refers to the period 1965-2000, and "recent records" indicates the past ten years, 1991-2000.

The resulting timelines show that bird migrations range from predictable to surprising. Some species have tightly established patterns with no exceptions, while other species stretch the limits of their timelines. Arrival dates are generally well established, but departure times are less well defined. For many rarities, a seasonal pattern emerges over longer time periods, while some occurrences seem to be at random. The checklist attempts to include all rare bird and exceptional date records documented in the region; however, as long as there are birders in the field, these summaries are a never-ending compilation. Since the records period for the checklist closed after December 2000, two new species have been verified, Great Cormorant and Ferruginous Hawk, and many more exceptional records have occurred. Birders are encouraged to compare their observations to the timelines and submit relevant records to the BOS.

BOS Field Checklist

Updated April 13, 2004

Download the BOS Field Checklist.

You may need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader to view pdf files.

Verification Date Guide
1998 Edition

Updated March 10, 2003

Download the Verification Date Guide.

You may need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader to view pdf files.

From the Forward

In 1955, the Buffalo Ornithological Society adopted a formal verification system by which the sight records of its members could achieve a more scientific status. This system included a request that members accompany their reports of unusual sightings with detailed written statements so that these reports could be carefully evaluated by the Statisticians and become a part of the permanent records of the Society. When such a system was contemplated, the question immediately arose as to what constituted an unusual sight record. some persons recognized rarities of geography - birds from some other part of the continent or the world. There were also rarities of time - later or early migrants, summer stragglers, and birds in other categories which provide as much excitement (and perhaps more scientific value) and which are less easily recognized than the "true rarities." obviously, even the most experienced birder could not remember the vast amount of available data regarding the status of each species within the Buffalo Ornithological Society area.

Therefore, as a sort of rule book as to which observations required detailed written reports and which did not, the Date Guide was created as a part of the verification system. publication of Clark S. Beardslee and Harold D. Mitchell's Birds of the Niagara Frontier Region - An annotated Check-list in 1965 and is supplement (1970) centralized and added to previous information.

During the years that the verification system has been in operation, several revisions have been made to the Date Guide. as evidenced by the content of the written reports submitted by members and friends of the Buffalo Ornithological Society, the pattern of occurrence of many bird species in our area is far from static. These reports not only increase the reliability of sight records, but also can indicate that an adjustment of the dates and status of some species should be made periodically. Changes have also been necessitated by revisions of English and scientific bird names and taxonomic order by the American Ornithologists' Union (A.O.U.) to its Check-list of North American Birds (1998).

An ad-hoc committee of the Buffalo Ornithological Society met in 1998 to institute the latest changes in the Date Guide. This Seventh Edition is the result of the Deliberations of that committee and is based on the Buffalo Ornithological Society permanent record file of bird verification reports up to December 31, 1997, and on A.O.U. revisions. Responsibility for the accuracy of this publication and for the judgments made in its preparation rest entirely with the committee.

Michael M. Morgante, Chairman
Robert F. Andrle
Robert W. Brock
William C. D'Anna
Frances M. Rew
David F. Suggs
Joseph F. Thill
William W. Watson
May 1998

Home | Fieldtrips | Meetings | Membership | Publications | Grants | Bird Counts | Contacts |