Lyrebird mimicry "evidence"

To: "'Angus Innes'" <>, "'Birding Aus'" <>, <>
Subject: Lyrebird mimicry "evidence"
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 04:38:39 +1100
I disagree with Angus on the basis of what I wrote before. Most of the
claims of lyrebirds making a mechanical sound of a chain saw, or
whatever, or not that at all. It is observers who are unfamiliar with
these birds, hearing the natural sounds of these birds which they think
are mimicry of mechanical sounds. But they are not. They are part of the
bird's normal calls that coincidentally happen to also be similar to
mechanical sounds. The error is in thinking it is mimicry. That is not
to deny the evidence that occasionally some birds may pick up and use
human made sounds but these are very much exceptions. 


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Angus Innes
Sent: Saturday, 13 February 2010 3:17 AM
To: Birding Aus; 
Subject: Lyrebird mimicry "evidence"

Fellow Aus Birders,

As every true sceptic should, Richard Jordan looks to whether the
evidence supports the proposition which he queries.
A possible flaw in his approach occurs in the execution of his
enquiries. Evidence is not what Richard accepts or rejects, but it is
found in the direct observations of reliable witnesses. All our great
early bird guides were written by experienced observers who wrote about
what they saw and heard. That is still the basis of many accepted rarity
records in leading birding countries around the world. So if a relaible
observer says I saw a lyrebird and heard it making a mechanical sound of
a chain saw, or whatever, that is evidence. The use of camera and tape
recorder are latter day aids - and valuable, but do not make observation


In a passing observation  that is not directed in any way to Richard,
the problem of persons with new kit, or techniques, debunking the old,
can be seen throughout the modern world. The observations and opinions
of persons on the ground are dismissed as anecdotal - and not properly
validated. The validation process employes thousands of consultants at
great expense, who often regurgitate what they were told by the
experienced persons on the ground. 


Back to my short point, you have got to respect reliable observers. What
they say they saw or heard is evidence.


Angus Innes (Yes, I am a lawyer). 


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