Discussions on the Night Parrot.....Birdforum

To: Ian May <>
Subject: Discussions on the Night Parrot.....Birdforum
From: Russ <>
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2013 23:18:49 +1100
I'll clarify things for everyone. We (moderators) are not taking sides -
for a start we've been having our own discussion off-list and we don't see
eye-to-eye about a few things!

What we are in complete agreement about is that personal attacks do not
belong on this forum. A few of the recent comments were a bit lucky to get
through, but I would ask everyone to show the usual courtesy, and if you
want to discuss contentious issues, please be careful to avoid crossing
over into libel. Be nice. Express your opinion by all means, but quote
facts, not rumour, and don't make personal attacks.

And enjoy your birding!

Russell Woodford
Birding-Aus List Owner and Grand Poohba Moderator

On 12 October 2013 19:15, Ian May <> wrote:

> Well said Phillip.
> I also penned a reply about this, cc birding-aus but in the infinite
> wisdom of our moderators, someone has decided to decline posting the
> message.  It appears is permitted to undermine and slander John Young with
> impunity but  if you want to defend him., the message must run the
> moderators gauntlet
> regards
> Ian
> ------------------------------**------------------------------**
> ------------
> Philip Veerman wrote:
>  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.
>> Philip
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: 
>> <>
>> <>]
>> 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
>> Parrot.....Birdforum
>> 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 breath.
>> Happy birding
>> Ken
>> ______________________________
>>> From: Nikolas Haass <>>To: David Stowe
>> <>; robert morris ><
>> >**;
>> David Clark <>; Peter Shute <
>> >>Cc:
>> birding aus <> >Sent: Friday, 11 October 2013,
>> 13:02
>>> 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 journal.
>>> 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
>>> ----------------
>>> 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.
>>> Cheers
>>> Dave
>>> On 11/10/2013, at 5:52 PM, robert morris <>
>>> wrote:
>>>> 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:
>>>  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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