Night Parrot debate

To: Geoff Price <>, Birding Aus <>
Subject: Night Parrot debate
From: Ian May <>
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2013 17:01:22 +1100

Hello all


After revealing irrefutable evidence about the existence of Night Parrot, including hundreds of photographs, video, call recordings, DNA specimens and backed up with credible confirmation by another respected observer, what more could a reasonable person want.  


But John Young's protagonists now try to justify their personal nasty stuff as quasi scientific discussion.  But the irony of it all is that most of their comments are based on completely unsupported speculation. 

Quick searches of Birdforum archives, shows there are a couple of prominent critics pursuing this thread; mostly the same names previously generating this insensitive queasy agenda on birding-aus.  One can only speculate why?   Are there some mean spirited individuals out there trying to force John Young to reveal more information so as to defend himself or could there be someone with a personal "axe to grind".   Either way, I reckon there should be no place for it here on the birding-aus forum.

<>I should explain why I have included the extensive "cc" list of this post.   The original message 11/10/2013, also in defence of John Young, was denied posting by the moderator (moderators) implying it contained personal attacks against protaganists of John Young   So I have been much more careful in thispost to omit references, associations and descriptions of termites, armchair experts, ambitious gazumpers etc etc and so, with a bit of luck, this one might get through this time.

Ian  May

St Helens, Tasmania

Geoff Price wrote:
Well said Stephen. I for one have been wondering why some cannot differentiate between personal attacks and scientific debate. Certainly, there have been more personal attacks from the pro-Young camp than those who question the scientific validity of the pictures. As you say - we are entitled to question, especially given the man's history. As I see it, many respected scientists are questioning certain behavioural aspects of the finder, such as suppressing the call and altering images. This is scientific debate, NOT casting aspersions on the validity of the find. So why are so many getting so heated up when anyone dares question this, and the assumption that he alone knows what is good for this species?

On 15/10/2013 12:29 PM, Stephen Murray wrote:
Lloyd. Thank you for sharing this information.

However, I have to say that say I am completely taken aback by the way
people have been demonised for daring to ask a few questions about  the
photos. These are the first pictures we have  ever been shown of a live
Night Parrot. Did Mr Young really think people were not going to look
closely at the photograph?  People just wanted to know was why was it
altered, how much of it was altered, and did the publishers know it was
altered.   For that they are told to 'shut up', 'get a life' or worse,
accused of slander.  The religious fervour building up around this event is
starting to cloud people's judgement.  All the information about what a good
bloke John is, and how much he has sacrificed to get to this point, is
totally irrelevant to the discussion about the photo.

I particularly don't like the implication that because the photos were only
for public consumption it doesn't really matter that they were altered. You
have to remember that, until this discovery makes its way into a scientific
journal, members of the public have very little to go on.  Just a few
altered photos and what we have been told.

Steve Murray

-----Original Message-----
From: m("","birding-aus-bounces");">
[m("","birding-aus-bounces");">] On Behalf Of Lloyd Nielsen
Sent: Monday, 14 October 2013 6:39 PM
To: m("","birding-aus");">
Subject: 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 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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