Discussions on the Night Parrot.....Birdforum

To: Jeff Davies <>
Subject: Discussions on the Night Parrot.....Birdforum
From: Bert Harris <>
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2013 10:13:40 -0400
My apologies. I joined birdforum and found what I was looking for. Cheers,

On Sat, Oct 12, 2013 at 10:04 AM, Bert Harris <> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I don't have access to the Australian Birdlife magazine and I was
> wondering if any of the images in question are available on the internet. I
> found one at Is
> this the Triodia photo to which everyone is referring? It would be
> fantastic if someone could post an image pointing to which feathers have
> been copied but that may be wishful thinking on my part.
> Thanks very much!
> Bert Harris, New Jersey, USA
> On Sat, Oct 12, 2013 at 9:24 AM, Jeff Davies <>wrote:
>> G'day Steve,
>> Yes, I agree that to my eye there has definitely been some clone stamping
>> at
>> two locations in the photos, but the bird otherwise still appears to be a
>> genuine Night Parrot, so none of this puts the identification at risk.
>> It's important to realize that both images show the same side of the bird,
>> with one image being reversed for reasons unknown. The image against
>> Triodia
>> shows a small area of outer scapulars stamped out with a sample taken from
>> the front of the scapulars. The second image against gravel also shows the
>> same area stamped out but with a sample from the mid section of the
>> scapulars. There must have been a bunch of feathers sticking up out of
>> alignment or something to that effect. This second image also has a sample
>> of the background used to stamp out a feather sticking up above the dorsal
>> profile, this feather is still visible in the first image against the
>> Triodia where it is not so eye catching and was therefor left in.
>> I agree John or whoever should not have done this on such historic images,
>> but it doesn't challenge the identification of the bird. I would expect
>> that
>> in due course John would eventually present the same images plus others
>> showing the opposite side of the bird for us all to see without the
>> cosmetic
>> adjustments. John has said he watched the bird for 35 minutes, that's a
>> long
>> time and he has 600 images of it so it would be fair to assume there isn't
>> 600 images of one side of the bird.
>> Cheers Jeff.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: 
>>  On Behalf Of Stephen
>> Murray
>> Sent: Saturday, 12 October 2013 6:44 PM
>> To: 'Philip Veerman'; 'birding-aus'
>> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Discussions on the Night Parrot.....Birdforum
>> Phil. I would humbly suggest you go and have another look at the
>> photograph.
>> There is a substantial section of feathering on the back area that appears
>> to have been duplicated twice...possibly with a clone stamp (but there are
>> numerous methods). Feathers are like snowflakes, they are never exactly
>> identical. So what? You ask. Well, normally it would be no big deal. I am
>> assuming an offending twig or something was removed to make the photo
>> nicer.
>> I do that myself sometimes with my own shots. Maybe that's why it stands
>> out
>> to me. I have to say though, that it beggars belief that an image of this
>> importance could be adjusted like this without anything being said.
>> Especially in a case where the photographer has been accused of excessive
>> manipulation in the past. If I were John Young I wouldn't allow anyone to
>> digitally manipulate the image in any way. I think the magazine should
>> make
>> a statement about the post-processing of this image, given its
>> significance.
>> Steve Murray
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: 
>>  On Behalf Of Philip
>> Veerman
>> Sent: Saturday, 12 October 2013 2:51 PM
>> To: 'birding-aus'
>> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Discussions on the Night Parrot.....Birdforum
>> 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:
>> 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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