Night Parrot debate

To: "" <>
Subject: Night Parrot debate
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2013 17:12:37 -0700 (PDT)
Dear Tony,
John Leonard, Lloyd & BirdingAus,

First I’d
like to thank Lloyd for the provided explanation.
It looks
like there is a huge misunderstanding going on – likely induced by hitting the
delete button too early? This discussion was never meant to be an emotional one
about John Young, it was meant to be an objective one about the first ever
taken photographs of a live Night Parrot - regardless if they were published
for public or scientific consumption, Lloyd, as every bit of valid information
should provide a piece of the puzzle in the Night Parrot’s biology and
therefore will contribute to its conservation. 
You are
right, John L.. Night Parrot has currently the status 'endangered' (Birdlife 
as opposed to many other endangered species, there is very little known about
the status and the current distribution of this species, which may well go 
if we lose the (last?) sites, where it occurs. The last accepted record was a
dead juvenile bird found in Diamantina National Park in 2006 (seven years ago). 
this photographic documentation is of major importance!
these are the only ever photographs of a live Night Parrot, it would be very
important to use some of the 600 taken photographs – raw files, without any
manipulation for whatever reason (spinifex twigs are much less disturbing than
multiple out-of-place cloned feathers) –, the 17-second movie, the sound
recordings and the DNA analysis to properly document this sighting! That is a 
opportunity that should not be missed, as I believe that any new information
will help to conserve this endangered species!
Finally, John,
I don’t see that much novelty in the behaviour as other parrot species can 
up like an Echidna’ and hop, too. So at this point, this is certainly worth 
noting but I am not sure how much this adds to the knowledge.

I think
the main importance of this sighting is the actual photographic and sound
Nikolas Haass

Brisbane, QLD

 From: Tony Russell <>
To: 'Lloyd Nielsen' <>;  
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:47 AM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Night Parrot debate

Oh Lloyd, well said ! It's about time someone of your stature in the birding
world stood up in support of all the fantastic work that John Young does.
One can only assume that his knockers are either very extreme sceptics or
just plain jealous and it's not worth spending any more time on them.  I've
been out in the field with John and can only bow to his abilities, patience,
veracity and expertise.


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Lloyd Nielsen
Sent: Monday, 14 October 2013 7:09 PM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Night Parrot debate

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
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
 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
 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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