John Young and his Parrots

To: "Birds" <>
Subject: John Young and his Parrots
From: L&L Knight <>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 18:14:30 +1000
Yes, I take your point, Tony.  However, let me put it this way.

If you were to put a message on BAus that you had found an interesting bird that might be a fourth fig parrot and you posted a picture on ABID, no-one would mind too much if it turned out that you were mistaken, or more evidence had to be found to enable a judgement to be made.

However, if you had a song and dance media event where the Minister for Environment went on the record that you had found a new fig parrot and it was said that the departmental scientific officer in charge of a fig parrot recovery program was helping you to prepare an article for an academic journal, then it would not be surprising that people started to question your credibility if you didn't have the evidence at hand to back up your claims.

If you have a gala opening for a new curry house with only lentils in the larder, you can't complain that you are getting a raw deal when people start asking "Where's the beef?". Even a "Charles Prentiss" [Absolute Power] media campaign can only get you so far. In this era of scientific determinism [how many of you are sweating on the next Christidis and Boles taxonomic determination to bump up your life lists?] you have to stump up if you make a big call.

It may be that this episode is the equivalent of a botched run-out attempt [to use a cricket analogy]. Time will tell.

What does this all mean for twitchers? My view is that if you think you've come across a rare vagrant [possibly a first for Australia] you post a message on B Aus that you've seen an interesting bird with characteristics A, B, C ... at location N and that you think it might be species X [even if you are confident that it is X]. You don't jump in and say "I've found species X ..."

Even when you use what you think is careful and precise wording, you still need to have a thick skin, in my experience.

Regards, Laurie.

On Wednesday, February 21, 2007, at 09:14  AM, Tony Russell wrote:

I have just re-read the report of John's findings on his website "John
Young Wildlife Enterprises" to refresh my mind as to what all the
current fuss is about. I have also reviewed most of the  tittle tattle
as to John's credibility currently being bandied about on this net.

I must say I find myself shocked and disappointed that there seem to be
some among us so determined to tarnish the name of such a highly
regarded naturalist without anything to go on other than the fact that
he is playing things close to his chest and hasn't yet revealed the full
details or evidence ( presuming he has some) of his reported find(s).
Is this suspicion born of envy or yet another example of how we in Oz
just like to tear down tall poppies?
Hey, let's give the guy the benefit of the doubt until he deems it
appropriate to either tell us more or pull his head in and say sorry
folks, my mistake. Let's stop being so impatient. Even if he backs down
we shouldn't lose our respect for him.
My bet is that he's either sitting at home feeling sorry and embarrassed
at having made a mistake and wondering how he can rescue the situation,
or he knows he's on safe ground and laughing his head off at all the
petty nitpicking.
I don't believe that any amount of badgering is going to get him to
disclose anything further in public until he is good and ready, so
instead of insisting that he "put up or shut up" why don't we just shut
up ourselves and wait for his next revelation, whichever way it goes.
Don't we owe him enough respect and patience for that? If he is indeed
on to something good I'm sure we'll hear about it eventually.
Until he does tell us more all the positive or negative conjecture in
the world isn't doing any good for anyone, not even those who like the
sound of their own voices, but least of all for the reputation of
Australian birders in the rest of the world.



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