Night Parrot debate

To: Lloyd Nielsen <>
Subject: Night Parrot debate
From: Chris Charles <>
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2013 20:10:28 +1100
Thanks Lloyd, but you are the first correspondent to offer any actual 

Chris Charles

On 14/10/2013, at 7:38 PM, Lloyd Nielsen <> wrote:

> Someone asked for the truth in this matter so please read below. I should add 
> that I have known John for about 30 years, have worked with him on many 
> occasions and regard him as a close friend.
> John finally got the photos of the Night Parrot with the help of a birding 
> friend who has accompanied him on many of the trips (and who also saw the 
> parrot during that time). After the night of photography and some sleep was 
> had, they packed up and headed for home - a 15 hour drive. As soon as John 
> got within mobile range, he phoned me to say "We got it!" He was so excited 
> that he could hardly get the words out. They arrived back in Cairns late that 
> night. Next morning around 9.00 am John arrived up here at my place and we 
> sat at my kitchen table and spent a couple of hours going through about 50 or 
> so of the best photos as well as the video. I was the first to see them. I 
> had already heard much of the sound that John had got on previous visits but 
> we went through some of that again. Over previous years, I spent time with 
> him out at some of the sites where he has been looking for the parrot, 
> including the one where he finally got the photos. I have not been fortunate 
> enough
  to see the bird myself but know the exact site where he photographed it - in 
fact the very spinifex bush the bird disappeared under!
> As far as John altering the photo digitally is concerned, all he did was to 
> take a small spinifex twig off the birds back which was spoiling the photo. I 
> have just spoken to him again and he assures me adamantly that before he sent 
> the photo that is all he did (not that I needed that assurance). The photo (a 
> jpg!) was not for scientific consumption but for PUBLIC consumption! What is 
> the drama over that? Some people seem to have problems differentiating 
> between the two - just read the debate on Bird Forum. It is something which 
> happens a million times a day in the publishing world. There are another 
> hundred plus original Raw files which will be available for publication at a 
> later date with a scientific paper if needed.
> I really can't believe some of the comments and doubting from some people 
> which has made its way onto Birding-aus!! John Young is one of the most 
> remarkable and talented field ornithologists Australia has ever seen and yet 
> there are people out there (mostly those who have never met him) who still 
> try to put him down at every opportunity.
> And as far as the "debate" on the Bird Forum website is concerned, after 
> reading a few of those postings, I quickly hit the delete button - I have 
> better things to do than to waste time reading discussion such as that which 
> at times denigrates Australian birding and birders, with some bordering on 
> defamation. Why don't these people take some notice of the Aussies? A few 
> noted Australian ornithologists made an attempt to convince them that the 
> sighting and photographs were genuine but that seemed to be ignored but a 
> number of contributors.
> Finally, a message to the doubters and knockers - for goodness sake, go take 
> a cold shower and give the man a break!! Recognise his ability, what he has 
> achieved and what he is doing. Allow him to make more data available in his 
> own good time. He is already working on the parrot and its welfare 
> (voluntarily with no financial remuneration) with others including some from 
> the scientific community. The object of this is to determine the status of 
> the bird etc etc, trying to locate it in other areas, to determine the best 
> ways to protect the bird, AND ways in which others might see it without 
> endangering the species. You are not helping either the cause (especially 
> when and if funds need to be raised at some time), the future of the Night 
> Parrot or the chance for others to see it!
> And for those people asking (almost demanding) him to divulge all that he has 
> gained, discovered and learned so far - does one immediately write a paper at 
> first encounter with a species? He has already conducted a public forum at 
> his own expense for the benefit of birders. Just remember this - John derives 
> a living from consultancy etc. in the natural history field (he does not have 
> a highly paid government or other job) and the quest for the Night Parrot has 
> already cost him more than 6 figures of his own money as well as thousands of 
> hours in the field for which he has received very little remuneration to 
> date. Are these people going to contribute to some form of remuneration. Give 
> the man a break!
> Lloyd Nielsen,
> Mt Molloy, Nth Qld
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