John Young and his Parrots

To: "'L&L Knight'" <>, "'Birds'" <>
Subject: John Young and his Parrots
From: "Tony Russell" <>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 22:24:07 +1030
Ok Laurie, I hope you can accept that I'm not defending  or condemning
him. He may have misjudged how to announce his claims and is suffering
the consequences of that.
 He may have risked wasting some politician's time but so what? 
 He may know more about the picture than he's letting on. 
They are things for him to work through to the best of his abilities. 
But I think it helps nothing at all for him to be publicly disparaged by
some people who seem to delight in doing so, almost as though they have
nothing better to do.
I think we should all get off his back and politely wait and see what
eventuates. Let's all be gracious in our tolerance of a possible blot on
what has otherwise been an enviable career.  Maybe he's made an error,
maybe he hasn't , let's live with it.

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of L&L Knight
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 6:45 PM
To: Birds
Subject: John Young and his Parrots

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 

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
> 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
> 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
> 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.
> Tony.
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