Australian Field Ornithology journal

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Australian Field Ornithology journal
From: "michael norris" <>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 18:14:59 +1100
I agree there are valuable articles - but I know that getting enough
material has been a problem.

So I wish it could revert to something like Australian Bird Watching and
Field Ornithology.

It used to have a lot of fascinating - but disciplined - amateur
observations (especially about behaviour), remembering that amateur means
doing something for love rather than status.

I'm not sure why these disappeared.  Perhaps the bar for authors has been
raised too high in terms of the amount of research into references etc. that
are required to prove the material is valuable to academics ("new") rather than to general readers ("interesting"). Perhaps there was an assumption that authors wanted
to add a publication to their c.vs. and so should meet professional

OK I am grumpy about my own experience but it may parallel those of other
amateurs. Many years ago I sent in a draft (with a request for comment) on what I thought
was an interesting observation of nesting by what was probably a
female-female pair of Singing Honeyeaters.  The response was that I needed
to look at even more references.

I reckon what was needed was encouragement.  And a request to cut the thing
down to x words, by omitting some irrelevant discussion and detail, preferably rewriting it in the first person (rather than that pseudo-objective passive tense the dominates AFO "one was observed" rather than "I saw one"), and submit as soon as possible! After all there were (are?) very few records of even probable same-sex nesting amongst passerines.

I haven't given up finishing it - but the todo list has got ever larger
since then!

And I think this is the first time I have got this off my chest publicly.

Michael Norris


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