Dear Greg, All,
I'm sure I deserve Greg's gibe for my cheekiness back in November and I
happily take it on the chin. I also want to give credit where credit is due
and commend Greg on his perserverance in all matters fig-parrot.
However, I am concerned that this whole area has lost focus and I am also
concerned about some of the implications. And I would like to say a few
words about this.
THE "FOURTH FIG-PARROT"
I don't know John Young and have not corresponded with him. I know him by
reputation only. If the photo published in the Courier Mail is not
authentic, I would be very disappointed, totally flabbergasted and more than
a little angry. How John Young deals with the suggestions and innuendo now
in the public arena is a matter for him. In my opinion, however, deal with
them he must. He originally announced that a paper would be prepared for
the Emu. I look forward to that announcement being honoured.
If it is proved that the fourth fig-parrot is a fiction, that is not proof
that the Coxens fig-parrot is extinct. These are separate matters. Greg
has reported the view that the Coxens fig-parrot is "probably extinct".
Some leading authorities support this view. On the other hand, Dr Ian
Gynther of the fig-parrot recovery program takes the opposite view.
"Now The Courier Mail reports that a Brisbane man with no birding experience
has had one of John's new parrots fly into his window. A cat has eaten the
dead bird. Is this what we've been reduced to?
That sort of stuff is not that far removed from the argument that because
John spends so much time in the rainforest canopy - filming riflebirds,
looking for sooty owl nests (now that's another story) or whatever - he
finds things the rest of us don't. That may be true of orchids or bugs, but
fig-parrots are not grasswrens. They may be inconspicuous when feeding but
they are noisy little blighters in flight."
A: They are, Greg, and people *do* claim to hear them - and see them. Some
of those claims are persuasive. Living in the Kin Kin Scrub/ Noosa
hinterland area, I know that there are very few people out there with
sufficient birding experience to positively identify a Coxens. Your
suggestion that, if the fig-parrots were out there, "the rest of us" (and
not just John Young) would encounter
them doesn't stack up. "We" aren't out there looking!! Sure, "we" might go
on a birdwalk to a patch of rainforest with our birding club every now and
then, but what can we expect from that? As soon as "we" reach the barbed
wire fence of the next property, we turn around and come back. "We've"
forgotten our insect repellant anyway and the mossies are getting a bit
Still, you might expect *some* encounters to be had. And, surprise,
surprise - they are! They're just not filmed or tape recorded. And
ultimately, they're not believed by the sceptics. The rainforest
regeneration and planting weekends (attended by a number of experienced
birders) at the Dangerbridge property produced more than one claimed
encounter. Brief. Quick. Fast.
In my opinion, one day we will be lucky. We will be there with camera in
hand. Close up.
Wouldn't it be a terrible shame if our commitment to the Coxens fig-parrot
(I believe that less than $100,000 has been spent so far) was dashed because
of scepticism arising from claims over a "fourth" fig-parrot?
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