Discussions on the Night Parrot.....Birdforum

To: "'birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Discussions on the Night Parrot.....Birdforum
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2013 15:50:31 +1100
Sorry but these comments seem really bizarre to me. I don't see any sign of
manipulation of the photo. A bird running through the grass at night time is
going to get some feathers ruffled. If this has been tidied up, well it
seems an odd thing to do, but so what? Certainly I can't agree "there is
absolutely no doubt that major image manipulation has taken place in this
case." I don't see any sign of it, let alone major. Why not first ask
whether that was done. Even if there is, it doesn't make a pigeon into a
Night Parrot. Why would anyone bother to do that? If someone was going to
defraud us with fake photos, why bother travelling out into the bush for
years to try to find the bird? Just get a museum specimen and set up a scene
and photograph it in your back yard or do computer generated images.
Jurassic Park has done it with dinosaurs, much easier. The suggestion seems
ridiculous. Surely the existence of video film makes the suggestion just a
bit silly. And no I was not there to see the video. The likelihood that a
rare, secretive, nocturnal, terrestrial, small bird has existed and escaped
close scrutiny for years is huge. Do you really think all the magazines in
the shops do not rely of cosmetics and then manipulate front cover images to
remove blemishes, make the girls look thinner, make their eyes bigger, not
to mention all the glamour magazines. Or flip images from left to right to
fit the layout better. So what. Guess what birds are bilaterally
symmetrical. There are several books that include photos of manipulated
images of birds. Most books would edit to chose the best photos to show
certain points or to show how hard some bird ids van be. That too is
manipulation to give an impression. 

As for "since they are the only existing photographs, they might be used for
future reference and may end up as templates for field guides. In this case
the manipulations 
will be amplified." On what basis will they be amplified? And what do you
think the illustrators of field guides have been using in the past. And
don't they make some mistakes by overemphasising certain features to make a
bird image look good, even if it is a fraction of the size of the bird. No
doubt illustrators of field guides have the only  raw material to work from
as museum specimens to use as references that includes birds in moult or in
bad condition. They have surely always chosen to show the birds in
unblemished and complete plumage. So that aspect of manipulation and
guesswork is standard. Do you really think a bit of manipulation on a photo
(if it happened) is going to make a painting with all its interpretation by
the artist and production processes for a field guide so inaccurate that it
is going to lead to someone unable to distinguish the Night Parrot from
something else? It is not as if there is anything remotely similar that
lives in the same range. 

By the way I am just reacting to these messages. I don't know if the photos
are real but don't see anything to demonstrate they aren't. I don?t know or
care either way about John Young and whether he found this bird and I have
not seen the video or the bird.


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of KEN TUCKER
Sent: Saturday, 12 October 2013 4:28 AM To: Nikolas Haass       Cc: birding
aus     Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Discussions on the Night

I agree with you, Nikolas. As a scientific record, this just doesn't cut
the mustard. I really want to believe it's true and this doesn't disprove
John's claims... but why manipulate the image? And DNA evidence  just proves
that Night Parrot feathers were obtained... but from where? (Obviously from
a Night Parrot... but how obtained?)  I hope better evidence is soon
forthcoming... but I shan't hold my 

Happy birding

> From: Nikolas Haass <>>To: David Stowe
<>; robert morris ><>;
David Clark <>; Peter Shute <>>Cc:
birding aus <> >Sent: Friday, 11 October 2013,
>Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Discussions on the Night Parrot.....Birdforum
>Hi David, David & Peter,
>As a scientist I strongly disagree. Sadly, there is absolutely no doubt 
>that major image manipulation has taken place in this case. This is not 
>acceptable for publication in any medium as it has a serious impact on 
>the validity of the presented data. First of all, these pictures (and 
>hopefully at some point the videos) should support the evidence of the 
>Night Parrot still being around. Second, since they are the only 
>existing photographs, they might be used for future reference and may 
>end up as templates for field guides. In this case the manipulations 
>will be amplified. A way to fix this very serious issue would be the 
>publication of the original raw files and a thorough explanation why 
>the pictures had been manipulated prior to release.
>To your question, David, 'What do people really want?'
>We want unequivocal data supporting evidence of the Night Parrot still 
>being around. So far we don't have any acceptable data. To my knowledge 
>neither the pictures (original raw files), nor the video (again 
>original raw files), nor the call (for reasons discussed in the past) 
>nor the DNA data have been published in a scientific peer-reviewed 
>Here are the guidelines for image manipulation that we use in our field 
>of research: 'Digital figures adjusted with computer software are 
>acceptable. However, the final image must remain representative of the 
>original data and cannot be enhanced, obscured or rearranged. 
>Unacceptable modifications include the addition, alteration or removal 
>of a particular feature of an image. All digital images in manuscripts 
>accepted for publication will be examined for any improper modification 
>and if evidence of such inappropriate modification is detected, the 
>Editor of the journal will request the original data to be supplied for 
>comparison to the prepared figures and if necessary revoke acceptance 
>of the article. Cases of deliberate misrepresentation of data will 
>result in revocation of acceptance, and will be reported to the 
>corresponding author's home institution or funding agency.'
>Best wishes,
>Nikolas Haass
>Brisbane, QLD
>On Friday, October 11, 2013 8:33 PM, David Stowe 
><> wrote:
>Hi Rob,
>I heard about it some time ago but deliberately didn't rejoin as I knew 
>i would just get myself into an argument :)
>Having been at the presentation in Brisbane and seen the video and 
>photos I had no doubts at all. Seeing the high res printed cover of 
>Birdlife magazine doesn't change anything for me. The DNA analysis was 
>also positive. What more do people really want? So what if a few 
>feathers have been cloned? So what if the image has been flipped 
>between publications? Some people really do need to get a life.
>I have no doubt that John Young doesn't care what they are saying - nor 
>those close to him who have seen more.
>On 11/10/2013, at 5:52 PM, robert morris <> 
>> All
>> I attended John Young's presentation on Night Parrots in Brisbane 
>> which was amazing to see. It seemed indisputable and I walked away having
witnessed a part of birding history.
>> However, I have just been alerted by UK birding friends to discussions
taking place on Birdforum in the UK where there are claiming parts of the
photos are cloned and they are casting huge doubts over the record. 
>> Some of it can be found here: but you have to join bird
forum to see the the entire thread with all the photo analysis. 
>> Does anyone know anything about this? Is anyone following the thread and
has anyone else looked at this or commented on it?
>> I'm not trying to caste aversions or dispute John's record but people
should be aware that the record is being questioned by other birding
communities. It would be great if someone could set them straight......
>> Rob Morris
>> Brisbane, Australia


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