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I agree with Bob Fisher's comment of: "Bottom line: The scientists know
better. A valid collector's permit trumps the birding community's protest.
Those who disagree should be quiet."  My take on his comment is that it is
facetious. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

I apologize. Because of my frustration, my comment was much too strong--I
was out of line by using the descriptor "cowardly."  This whole discussion
has been quite difficult for many on the listserve. However, for those of us
who aren't "in the circle," so to speak, this entire incident has left us
feeling quite helpless and "out of the loop." Some of us have obligations
(jobs, children, etc.) and can't travel to see a bird within a short time
period of the initial sighting (or attend ASM for more insight). This
incident will always make me wonder if every time someone reports that a
rarity has suddenly vanished if indeed, it was "taken."

Has anyone on the list been wondering about the true fate of the Red-footed
Falcon? Did it really "just leave"?

Deb Nichols
Hannibal (Marion Co.) MO



----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Fisher" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 10:59 AM
Subject: Re: Accusatory comments


> Hi Lynn:
>
> I think Deb Fortenberry Nichols' comments to Mr.Silcock go too far for an
> on-list post when she accuses the collector of the gull as "cowardly" for
> not stepping forward and stating his justification for doing it. Most
people
> already knew his identity, but his name has  properly been kept off the
list
> to avoid personal attacks and name calling. I understand that he appeared
> and answered questions at the ASM fall meeting and apparently satisfied
> quite a few folks down there that the deed was legit and scientifically
> justified.
>
> Two scientific justifications for collecting the gull have been given: (1)
> to aide some Louisiana State University researchers in their study of
> hybridization between Kelp and Herring Gulls on the Chandeleur Islands of
> Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, and (2) to make the specimen a part of
the
> permanent collection of the Kansas University Museum of Natural History in
> Lawrence, KS.  Defenders of the collection also wax eloquent about all
sorts
> of wonderful benefits that will accrue to birders. The specimen will be
used
> to make better field guides and will "provide valuable information on body
> fat, stomach contents, molt, blood parasite levels, etc."  Researchers
will
> study the bird in future years at KU. We are also advised that taking the
> gull does not matter to us; lots of nuisance gulls are taken at garbage
> dumps, so why worry about one more? After all, most of us eat meat, what's
> so different about the killing of one gull?, etc.
>
> The collection of the gull has predictably aroused a strong negative
> reaction from the birding community, but  there is nothing cowardly about
> it. We are assured that the collector had proper federal state and county
> park permits. His scientific justifications may or  may not have been
mixed
> with other motives, but in any event they are part of the equation.
>
> Bottom line: The scientists know better. A valid collector's permit trumps
> the birding community's protest. Those who disagree should be quiet.
>
> Susan Gustafson, ASM's new President, informs me that, at the ASM falling
> meeting,  the collector  "was not opposed to the suggestion that if a
> similar situation should arise in the future, he could notify us that a
> particular bird was a candidate for collection."  That's not exactly a
firm
> promise that it won't happen again. But at least it shows movement in the
> direction of the sensibilities of the birding community.
>
> I would like more assurance than that. I think everyone on this list has a
> strong interest to know with some certainty  that if we report a rare bird
> to the list, some guy from KU will not come into our state and bag it for
> his museum. Perhaps that assurance will come. If not, we are not helpless,
> but we may have to go off list to get results. Let's wait for an official
> account of the ASM meeting before deciding what, if anything, to do next.
> Edge Wade has also demonstrated impressive leadership and diplomatic
skills.
> Let's give her a chance to negotiate a settlement, if she is willing to do
> it.
>
> Whatever we do, let's eschew naming and personal accusation on list.
>
> Bob Fisher
> Independence, Missouri
> [log in to unmask]
>
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