Mundane & useless threads! Back to Night Parrots and identifying birds c

To: "'Peter Shute'" <>, "'Philip,kylie,Joshua,noah'" <>
Subject: Mundane & useless threads! Back to Night Parrots and identifying birds correctly
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2013 11:13:35 +1000
Thanks Peter,

That is exactly correct. I am the other Philip ("that poster was
suggesting") who raised that point. My point being, yes of course I hope
there are Night Parrots there. But before we get excited about jumping on
nocturnal graders and scouting for Night Parrots, I would wish to be
confident there is some basis to think that the birds being seen aren't some
other parrot species, or even pratincoles, quails or god knows what, that
happen to be birds roosting on the ground at night. I don't know the birding
credentials of the grader driver or how easy it is to identify birds in
those conditions. Knowing the sort of misidentifications that non birders
and even some of us, come up with (we all must know stories), my guess is:
that he is flushing birds at night and is aware of the name "night parrot"
and largely on that basis, says ahah I'm seeing Night Parrots. That is why I
want to know what other species this guy is flushing at night. There must be
other species flushed too. On the basis of what other birds would be there,
I am certain if all or most are things he sees, he claims as "night parrots"
well that simply is not credible. So are any? If some truly are, well that
is good news. How often do you hear people referring to Chimpanzees as
"monkeys" or dubbing of sounds of Chimpanzees with footage of monkeys. Even
with our closest relatives, people make wording mistakes. 

Thus I say absolutely that the difference between the two spellings Night
Parrot / night parrot and same for Ground Parrot / ground parrot etc, is
immense and I dispute that the thread of capitalisation is either mundane or
useless. Although it is repetitive. Misidentifications based on perceptions
from the name are common. We had the interesting case of the "Square-tailed
Black Kite" that was a Little Eagle, I believe the thought process was this:
likely there were many Black Kites there and he identified them. Here was a
similar but different bird and the most obviously different feature was the
square tail. On that feature and the name he made a wrong guess of
Square-tailed Kite. The error was surely more due to the name than
misreading the field signs (because it was nothing like a Square-tailed Kite
and the evidence it was a Little Eagle was clear in the photo). There was
also the young Gannets called great shearwaters, probably a similar tale.
Also the one about the Masked Gnatcatcher identified as "blue fairy wren".
Anyone who doesn't know birds or bird names would be perfectly valid to
identify a courting pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles with their looping flights
as "skylarks", as that is what they are doing, but they are not Skylarks. It
is by understanding the processes by which people reach right or wrong
identifications that we advance. More than just saying this is a XXXX. As it
is also about communications, (maybe sadly) spelling and such is important. 

Besides, the ideas about foreign language bird names is actually interesting
too. I am just one, and other people think differently, but discussions
about issues affecting the science of bird watching is in general far more
interesting to me, than that person x has seen bird y at place z.

As for suggestions of bullying. I don't see it and I am sure it is
unintentional if it happens in these contexts. Telling someone they have
spelt something wrong is simply (usually hopefully) helping them in the
learning process. 


-----Original Message-----From: 
 On Behalf Of Peter Shute
Sent: Monday, 15 April 2013 3:24 AM     To: Philip,kylie,Joshua,noah    Cc:
 Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Mundane & useless

Good points, Philip, but I'd just like to clear up what I believe might be a
misconception about how the capitalisation thread started. I believe that
poster was suggesting that the grader driver may have *verbally*
misunderstood "Night Parrot" for any kind of "night parrot", and not that he
was picking up a mistake in the original posting. Ie. it was used as an
example of where capitalisation assists correct communication.

What followed was mostly more of the same old preaching to the converted
with really only one new fact being added to previous capitalisation threads
(that Wikipedia is a collision point between the two styles).

I hope you won't be discouraged by your previous experience. I found your
posting in the archives, but no replies. So what you received must have been
all by private emails. That's interesting in itself, as it implies that some
others are unwilling to post directly to the list, possibly for the same

I must admit that I find the behaviour on this list far better than many
I've particated in since the wild days of bulletin boards nearly 20 years
ago. I'm wondering whether my previous experiences have hardened me, or
whether perhaps I'm the product of a kind of cyber Darwinism - survival of
the impervious.

Sent from my iPad

On 14/04/2013, at 8:36 PM, "Philip,kylie,Joshua,noah"
<> wrote:

> Would it not be better to commend the thread and respond accordingly 
> rather than pick up on a small spelling mistake that is truthfully
irrelevant to the overall story ....


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