|To:||"Peter Waanders" <>, "Birding Aus" <>|
|From:||Michael Todd <>|
|Date:||Wed, 30 Jul 2003 22:35:02 +1000|
Hello Peter and others,|
I'm probably going to regret getting involved in this discussion, but I'm fairly sure that you have misconstrued what was being said in your quote below.
"As Pandiburra Bore is
the only South Australian location from which specimens have been taken it
was considered sound ornithology for present and future workers to be given
the opportunity to assess the identity and sub-specific status of a bird
found at such a distance from there."
I read that paragraph as stating that they wanted future workers to have the opportunity to decide for themselves the identity of that particular individual (ie. which subspecies) which was so far out of range. Fifty years from now the taxonomy of Yellow Chats might be very different to what it is now thus it could be of interest to future workers to see this particular individual. They can't go to other museums as they obviously have different specimens.
I've met the J. Eckert who wrote this article and can honestly that I was very impressed with the man. I personally am uncomfortable with collecting specimens but I don't cast aspersions on those that do. Its probably in part a generational thing, it may be a dying tradition.
I know that many will say good riddance to the collecting of specimens. However they should remember that a large part of what we now know about birds (and animals in general) was discovered by the old-time collectors some of whom must have been brilliant observers without the technological aids that we take for granted today. Todays birdos should probably give a bit of recognition/ respect for those that came before them as each new generation tends to have it a little bit easier with a greater body of knowledge about our birds having been already documented. I'm in awe of birdos like John Gilbert who didn't have field guides, waterproof roof prisms and telescopes. If it wasn't for his gun he would have a great deal of difficulty identifying anything that he saw!
Works like Schodde and Mason's Directory of Australian Birds would not be possible without specimen collections. These collections also provide genetic material which will be of increasing importance in the future.
What I find more disturbing than the collecting of specimens is that people are so quick to demonise those who use different methods to their own. A little bit of tolerance goes a long way.
Cheers (I think)
At 07:35 PM 30/07/2003 +0930, Peter Waanders wrote:
Thanks Tony, the SA Ornithologist was still on my pile of things to read. IBirding-Aus is on the Web at www.shc.melb.catholic.edu.au/home/birding/index.html To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message "unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line) to
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