The depths some twitchers will go to tick the Night Parrot

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: The depths some twitchers will go to tick the Night Parrot
From: Laurie Knight <>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2015 17:58:53 +1000
I’m not sure what the fuss is about.  From the limited context in Carl’s 
original post, I presume John was referring to a conversation he had with a 
birdwatcher - possibly at one of his lectures - where the use of fire was 
mentioned as a hypothetical means to see a bird.  I don’t believe that John is 
in the habit of taking people to Night Parrot locations, so there was no 
likelihood of a night parrot actually being disturbed.  

It is not unknown for birdwatchers to beat the ground to flush out birds, and I 
think that beating or selective spinifex lighting was a technique used to see 
Night Parrots back in the nineteenth century.  Actually, I think many 
observations came from horse riders who saw birds flushed by their mounts.

The bottom line is there are many people who don’t care about the welfare of 
the birds they see.  All we can do is educate people ...

As for John’s comments about governments, I would remind you that there have 
been many successful government programs to conserve birds in places like 
Macquarie Island, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and in New Zealand.  There 
is a place for both public and private sector conservation efforts.

Regards, Laurie.

On 20 Feb 2015, at 2:01 pm, Carl Clifford <> wrote:

> 1. I not only have John's permission but encouragement to forward this email 
> which he sent to me this morning.
> 2. It is not hearsay, the forwarded email is John's word written in his own 
> hand detailing what he heard and saw.
> 3. The accused person has the opportunity to state his/her case on 
> Birding-aus. Indeed, I look forward to their side of the story
> 4. It is up to the list members and/or moderators to decide when it is 
> "enough on this matter", not one individual.
> As for intemperate language, what I wrote is a greatly modified version of 
> what I feel towards a person who would use such tactics as described by John, 
> just to tick a bird.
> Carl Clifford
>> On 20 Feb 2015, at 1:47 pm, Richard NOWOTNY <> wrote:
>> I'm going to weigh in again here with a plea for us all to be thoughtful, 
>> considered and temperate in our language when we post messages on a public 
>> forum such as Birding-Aus.
>> I'm sure Carl had only the best of intentions, but here are some 
>> thoughts/comments on his post.
>> 1. Did he seek John's permission before sending John's personal email to the 
>> list? John may not wish his private comments to be broadcast in this way 
>> (and they may not do him any favours by being made public).
>> 2. Is second-hand information ("hearsay" in legal terms) sufficiently 
>> reliable to justify such strong and emotive language directed at another 
>> person ["Utter contempt is not adequate enough to describe my feelings 
>> towards this person."], particularly when this person has had no opportunity 
>> to put their side of the story? (John himself knows all about this.)
>> 3. John states that the supposed miscreant "implied" that a fire might do 
>> something. I would like to have the actual statement before concluding that 
>> this was a statement of genuine intent or serious consideration, rather than 
>> say a careless or even whimsical comment (possibly misinterpreted in a 
>> sensitive and volatile setting).
>> I know some might find all of this altogether too prissy and purist, and of 
>> course megaphone commentary makes for much more entertaining reading (or 
>> listening - think shock-jocks). But shouldn't we try on this forum, 
>> particularly with its slightly scientific pretensions, to remain objective, 
>> reasonable, fair, decent - you know, all that stuff?
>> And surely that's enough on this matter.
>> Regards. Richard
>>> On 20 Feb 2015, at 11:54 am, Carl Clifford <> wrote:
>>> I have just received this email from John Young, part of which I find very 
>>> disturbing. How someone who purports to be a birdwatcher could suggest 
>>> setting fire to a fragile environment as spinifex country, just so he could 
>>> tick the Night Parrot is quite unfathomable. Utter contempt is not adequate 
>>> enough to describe my feelings towards this person. Unfortunately, if I 
>>> were to use the phraseology I would like to, I would likely be kicked off 
>>> BA for life. Suffice to say, they would be a suitable candidate for 
>>> retrospective sterilisation. Enough of my raging, here is John Youngs email:
>>> Hi Carl,
>>> I could not resist complimenting you on your quote about governments “Cloud 
>>> Cuckoo Land” how good and factual is that.
>>> Personally I think they are a baby kissing, weak hand shaking waste of 
>>> space – hence my stand to avoid them at all costs.
>>> The scary part was I recently had an individual wanting to see the bird for 
>>> his list at all costs and cost was the word.
>>> He actually implied that a spinifex fire would force them out the other end 
>>> so people could see them if lit when in position.
>>> If I would have been closer I would have beat the #!%# out of him.
>>> Surely our priceless fauna mean more than just a bloody tick.
>>> Our focus as a serious group of people now should be the killing of this 
>>> feral menace that has the potential in the VERY near future of wiping some 
>>> of our precious fauna off the face of the earth.
>>> A huge thankyou to you and those who are driving this point home..well done.
>>> My turn is coming and I will take no prisoners.
>>> Kind regards
>>> John Young
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