Australian Field Ornithology journal

To: "'Ian May'" <>, "'michael norris'" <>
Subject: Australian Field Ornithology journal
From: "Tony Russell" <>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2010 11:26:33 +1030
I agree with both Ian and Michael in this topic. I'm not going to go into a
longish dissertation as they have done, but sufficient to say that it's time
a forum evolved which moves away from the stuffed shirt over-academic mumbo
jumbo and provides an informal friendly facility for the vast majority of
birdwatchers who are out there simply for the love of birds and great
companionship.  Academics are quite welcome to either ignore or deride these
sentiments ( the way they usually do because I'm not citing any references)
but they should at least recognise that they are in the minority, cut no ice
with most of us, and should not try to dictate policies to those not of
their ilk.  Research is all very well and necessary but it's not the choice
of most birdwatchers.


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Ian May
Sent: Saturday, 27 February 2010 9:17 PM
To: michael norris
Cc: birding-aus
Subject: Australian Field Ornithology journal

Yes Michael, I echo your sentiments too but when the name changed from 
Bird Observers Club and people were employed to run the organisation, I 
thought then it was only a matter of time before the culture changed 
away from meeting the needs of field observers and evolving towards 
something else akin to a quasi land care group.  And now it is 
happening.    I'm not in agreement with the planned merger between the 
BOCA and BA but ironically, I can't wait either because their merger 
will provide a great opportunity for a new separate club to form; a real 
bird observers club with objectives like the old BOC and RAOU, meeting 
the needs of bird observers and producing a journal like the "bird 
watcher" and the "Emu" of days old.. 

And if a new club develops, next time we must insist on maintaining a 
club that directly reflects birdwatching interests such, the production 
of a journal that appeals to birdwatchers, developing policies to 
provide for the protection of birds as well as the interests of members 
such as privileged access to public and private land for birdwatching 
and constitution protections that will not permit evolution of the club 
into something else.

In the meantime I have rejoined the South Australian Ornithological 
Association (SAOA) because it is still an organisation primarily focused 
on field ornithology.  It has not developed into a pseudo research unit 
or a quasi land care organisation and it does not appear to kowtow to 
the politics of outside conservation  groups.  My first newsletters and 
journal arrived recently and it is an enjoyable and informative read.   
Great!   Just like the old days.

But beware!   Even here it appears there may be a push for change with 
an attempt to name the SAOA "Birds SA".  Is this the thin edge of the 
wedge?   Before anyone thinks of calling me a Dinosaur (preferably a 
Pteranodon), just remember this, you will need to submit a BARC report 
to have that one accepted


Ian May
currently at Price SA

michael norris wrote:

> 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
> standards.
> 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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