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I think both are necessary.  We need documentation (and verification) on
rare bird species and to what extent we can - we need to let the individuals
live.

Each has their merits and  we just need to be sure a collector has
scientific pursuits in mind.   We all need the results.

I think that's the case here.  Congrats to you all for your great work in
the field.

John Hansen   [log in to unmask]
Pride of St Joseph Website -
http://pride-of-st-joseph.us

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kyle Driggers" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2004 3:42 PM
Subject: Re: Smithville--Let us reason together...


> Well put Edge.
>
> Kyle Driggers
> Liberty, Mo.
>
> Edge Wade <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Esteemed friends,
>
> I have read the many messages regarding the Smithville gull collection
> very carefully. I offer the following as a response to some points
> expressed in those messages, and as one step in a process to resolve
> some of the aspects of the issue.
>
> First, some thoughts...
>
> On collecting: Collecting specimens is essential to furthering
> scientific knowledge. I am a bit equivocal on this. That is, I don't
> mean to deceive, but I am ambivalent. Specifically, I do not feel that
> collecting should be the action of choice in some bird/human
> encounters. Others differ and it is a long spectrum.
>
> On identification: Positive identification of every individual bird is
> not necessary to further scientific knowledge.
>
> On listing: The gull was not collected to confirm an identification for
> anyone's life list.
>
> On scientific results possible from the Smithville specimen: We will
> know the exact dimensions of that honker bill and several other aspects
> of the individual's anatomy. There are other details we or our
> descendants may learn, but the relevance of this individual to the whole
> is tenuous.
>
> That is to say that arguments for the various benefits of specimen
> study, in general, are not germane to the taking of this particular
> specimen. I'm not a mind reader and I certainly would not impugn the
> imagination of any researcher, but general research was unlikely a
> motive at Smithville.
>
> On the scientific value of study results: Although this is the crux of
> some of the differing opinions, we cannot know the value for now. In
> the absence of a crystal ball, that will take time.
>
> On "the usual suspects": I honestly don't know who was involved in
> various aspects of the collection. I don't know who or how many were
> present.
>
> It may surprise many and dismay some, but I don't even think the
> identity of the collectors is important. Let us bury any tendency
> toward a witch hunt and concentrate instead on the issue(s). See below.
>
> On the legality of the act(s):
> I'm sure that every possible means of staying within the letter of the
> law was undertaken with great thought and careful choreography. Spirit
> of the law is a different matter and perhaps should not be dwelt upon.
>
> On reactions:
> a. It is possible that the emotional reaction from the general birding
> community will cause collectors to say something like, "See how they
> react? They just don't understand. Next time we'll do it without
> informing them."
>
> b. Some birders have said publicly and others have probably sworn
> privately not to make an unusual sighting public knowledge.
>
> Neither of the above is a desired outcome of this incident.
>
>
> Now, On The Important Issues:
>
> Collecting is going to occur.
>
> Although a significant number of people sincerely believe it is never
> justifiable, most admit, with varying degrees of reluctance, that there
> are legitimate instances/questions/value of potential information to
> support collection--some of the time.
>
> On what could be done:
>
> The secrecy of the act is a major part of the problem. A reasoned,
> reasonable rationale presented prior to collection and a set date for
> the act would garner support--never, of course, from everyone, but
> certainly from many.
>
> Perhaps a protocol could be developed--AND followed. I'm not speaking
> of the legal aspects. I reiterate, the legality of the Smithville
> collection is not at issue.
>
> What we need is candor. We are (kinda) adults.
>
> With honest, open dialogue the majority of the birding community of
> Missouri and Kansas (note that is ONE community in this context) would:
>
> 1. understand and support collection activities most of the time;
>
> 2. understand and support deposition of specimens in the most
> appropriate institution;
>
> 3. bear no malice toward collectors pursuing legitimate scientific
> advancement, especially if it is not confused with career advancement;
>
> 4. not hesitate to inform others of an unusual bird.
>
>
> We would all gain from these outcomes.
>
> Let's be reasonable. Let's work this out. Perhaps the Smithville gull
> can be the impetus for a legacy far more lasting and valuable that the
> determination of its DNA or the measurement of its gonydeal angle.
>
> Perhaps KOS and ASM could form a joint committee to look at the issue.
> This committee could have representatives from both state's Bird Records
> Committees and from general birding members.
>
> Most sincerely written,
>
> Edge Wade
> Columbia, MO
> [log in to unmask]
>
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