"a little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
Tom Nelson recently brought to light one such case in which a woodpecker sighted in Florida by an amateur birder and initially reported as an Ivory-billed Woodpecker later turned out to have actually been a common Red-bellied Woodpecker.
This phenomenon is not new. An early example was brought to light by Jonathan Dwight in the April 1918 issue of The Auk. Dwight was one of the founding members of the American Ornithologists’ Union. Clearly, the problem of evaluating sight records is something that ornithologists have had to wrestle with since amateurs and professionals started keeping track of birds and their movements. And it has been the vexation of State bird record committees since their inception. A surprisingly large proportion of the rarities submitted to bird record committees lack these "Minimum considerations for verification of sight records." Which leads one to ask, "How many of Cornell's seven reported Arkansas sightings of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers would have been accepted if submitted to a bird record committee for review?"