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OK well never mind S. sacer may be right. The papa in S. papa is bishop a noun in apposition. (even though it is referring to the colorful Bishop's vestments?)Originally Vultur papa from Linneas and so its gender does not change with the new genus because it is a noun in apposition. The sacra in S. sacra means sacred or holy and that is an adjective and species names that are adjectival do have to agree with the gender of the genus??? I need to reread the David and Gosselin articles!
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2013 on North America's Oldest New Bird? at ABA Blog
Dear Mr. Wright: “Sarcoramphus sacer (and not McAtee's sacra, as the genus name is grammatically masculine).” Yes, but. The ending part of this genus name is Ramphus a Greek noun meaning beak and it is to be treated as a noun in apposition. In that case the two nouns (genus and species) do not have to agree in gender. The King Vulture is named Sarcoramphus papa and the two words do not agree in gender. Secondly as to proposal 2011 A-1 which started life out as proposal 2010-15-C, it did not pass. By its own terms only applied to extant birds and so would not have applied to this situation. I believe the committee did the right thing in not passing 2011-A-1 for the many reasons discussed on Bird Forum.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2013 on North America's Oldest New Bird? at ABA Blog
Sorry I ever doubted you John! There is a specimen female from Attu spring 1985. Then there is a male from Dawson Yukon June 2002. The National Geographic fieldguide says this sighting is disputed. But look at the Birder's Journal article on page 8 here: . I find the drawings convince me.
Toggle Commented Oct 5, 2012 on #ABArare - Pine Bunting - Alaska at ABA Blog
Dream bird, congrats to the finders and very nice photos by Mr. Gochfeld. How about some ABA Blog love for the other 3rd record for North America Siberian Blue Robin, on Gambell?? . Paul J. Leader the author of the 2009 British Birds article, Ageing and sexing of Asian chats got the ID ball rolling although Messr. Pavlik & Lehman had contemplated SBR from the beginning.
Toggle Commented Oct 5, 2012 on #ABArare - Pine Bunting - Alaska at ABA Blog
San Clemente, California is where Richard Nixon lived and is in Orange County. San Clemente island is in Los Angeles County. But not a big deal.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2012 on Rare Bird Alert: May 11, 2012 at ABA Blog
On vernacular names the ABA follows the AOU, {The ABA-CLC will cease to vote on changes in English Names in anticipation of AOU changes; we will simply follow published AOU decisions in all cases. English names: The ABA-CLC will cease to "pre-approve" AOU decisions but instead will automatically adopt any such decisions.}The AOU has not listed subspecies since 1957. In the fifth edition of the check-list the AOU only listed the Latin scientific name Spizella breweri taverneri; no mention of Timberline. Timberline now, is still a subspecies, although there was a 1999 paper suggesting it as a species. It was originally identified as a species and was named Timberline Sparrow in the 1925 Condor article. The AOU list does contain the Timberline Wren Thryorchilus browni, but no Timberline Sparrow. The IOC world bird names does not list Timberline Sparrow. But we know what bird you meant. I think in order to recruit younger people to get into birding updating vernacular names to for instance the Timbaland Sparrow might help. Whoot woot.
Toggle Commented Jan 7, 2012 on Rare Bird Alert: January 6, 2012 at ABA Blog
Can you provide evidence (e.g., from On the Origin of Species or other of Darwin's writings) for this: "I really doubt Darwin would be against classifying species or subspecies...Darwin recognized the value of a species concept." Darwin wrote the original draft of chapter IV during the period from mid December 1856 to late January 1857 according to his Pocket Diary. A year later he wrote a fifty sheet section on the contrasts in variation in genera with large and small numbers of species, which he intended for insertion towards the end of his original chapter… Having appealed to Hooker for a loan of these Floras so that he could rework them Darwin continued his tabulations and calculations of ratios of variation and speciation in parallel with his writing of successive chapters of Natural Selection, and he frequently mentioned this statistical work in his letters to Hooker. On August 22, 1857, he wrote: I am very glad to hear that you have been tabulating some Floras about varieties. . To our disappointment the little pits in the Sandstone contained scarcely a Gallon & that not good. — it was however sufficient to draw together all the little birds in the country. — Doves & Finches1 swarmed round its margin. 1This appears to be the only mention made by CD, either in the Diary or in his pocketbooks, of the family of finches that came to bear his name and to he most closely associated with the development of his ideas about speciation. However, the relative lack of interest in the Geospizidae displayed by CD when he was actually collecting birds in the Galapagos is consistent with the conclusion of Sulloway ('Darwin and his Finches: The Evolution of a Legend', Journal of the History of Biology 15: 1–53, 1982) that it was not until the Beagle's specimens were classified by John Gould early in 1837 that the true significance of their variability between the individual islands first became apparent to him. . Lastly we have the class "Race", corresponding with "Abarten" of Bernhardi/ 8/& with subspecies of some authors, in which the form is strictly inherited, often even under changed conditions; of this class we know there are plenty under domestication, some known, & more suspected in a state of nature, as in the geographical races of some Zoologists. But the term subspecies is used by some authors, to define (& corresponds in this sense with "unterart" of Bernhardi) very close species, in which they cannot determine whether to consider them as species or varieties. The existence of these doubtful forms has lately been explicitly admitted by M. Alp. Decandolle in regard to plants, & by implication by Mr. Wollaston1 in regard to insects: M. Decaisne & Dr. Hooker use the term without expressing more than that the difference between such subspecies is slight, yet permanent. As these authors are of the highest authority, this admission is important as sub-species fill up a gap, between species, admitted by everyone & varieties admitted by everyone. Between varieties & individual differences there seems a gradual passage but to this subject we shall recur. In species we should remember how extremely close some undoubtedly distinct forms are, as many plants, & as in some of the willow wrens, which are so close that the most experienced ornithologists can hardly distinguish them except by their voice, & the materials with which they line their nests; yet as these wrens inhabit the same country [? county] & always exhibit the same/9/ difference, no one can doubt that they are good species. So that between individual differences & undoubted species naturalists have made various short steps. In the above classification of several varieties the main difference rests on the hereditariness of the characters. Though the classes blend insensibly into each other, this classification is of some use when applied to domestic productions; & no doubt it holds good in varieties in a state of nature, which we are here considering. But it seems to me that we are far too ignorant to apply it to varieties under natural conditions, more especially in regard to animals. We have seen in our first chapter that the same character is inherited in very different degrees by different species, & even in different individuals of the same species; we have reason to suspect that a character becomes more fixed by long continued generation; although on the other hand, a character suddenly appearing is sometimes strongly inherited. Who can tell how much 1 On the Variation of Species. p. 185.
Although Mr. Emanuel was not telephoned for the Birding article, (what no Skype in Aberdeen?) people can read Another Probable Record of an Eskimo Curlew at Galveston Island, Texas: . Also "Texans rediscover the nearly extinct Eskimo Curlew" Audubon 64:162-165, which I could not find fully online but at least in 1962 Audubon magazine capitalized English bird names! . I did find this sentence online: “The Eskimo was successfully photographed in 1961 by Charles Mclntyre of Houston”. Where are these photos? . Mr. Eubanks do you have the power to publish online the 1993 report The Status of the Eskimo Curlew along the Upper Texas Coast, from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife? I fully agree with you that one of the downfalls of the British education system is they do not force people studying to research mole corneas to take journalism courses. m
I define fraud as someone stating a deceit which is relied upon by another to that person’s loss. Deceit is more broad an idea than a lie, it is the quality that prompts concealment or perversion of the truth . A deceit can be done by omission of facts (not the whole truth) or twisting of facts . I also believe that it can be done by someone who is under the spell of the will so they themselves are not aware of the deceitful nature of what they are saying. I think we can say that today the most dangerous people around are the true believers. Whether it is about re-finding an Eskimaux Curlew or wearing an explosive belt to a police station in Afghanistan; these are the people to watch out for. I think that M. Blavatsky did her deceit on behalf of the propagation of what she considered the truth, her philosophy, theosophy. The Theosophists are still around today. They founded a small town near my birding patch and still have a temple there. M. Bavatsky supposedly led Mrs. Hume to find a piece of jewelry she had lost. Later Allan Hume believed this was some trickery by M. Blavatsky, but at the time it led him to study Theosophy and to tell his friends about it. All to the benefit of Theosophy. In an American Theosophical journal from the 1880’s there is an article about Elliot Coues and a “lady friend” levitating tables. I think at that time Elliot Coues believed this to be true. However, by publishing this Elliot Coues perpetrated a fraud. People can not levitate tables by their mind! There was no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There is no Ivory-billed Woodpecker alive in 2011. Your pursuit of Eskimaux Curlews has been sucked dry of its scientific content as the years passed. It moves into the belief category like the Fetish idolatry of the New Guinea cargo cults. More John Frum than John Audubon. Welcome, I believe in a virgin birth so we are brothers in belief. Because of the announcement of Cornell lots of lives were changed, lots of resources were moved around and spent differently than if the announcement was not made. State, and Federal and private resources were misspent. I know Texas is doing fine but in my state they are cutting funds to poor children and the blind. (They need to get better lobbyists!) If any tax funds were spent on Ivory-billed Woodpeckers they were stolen from the poor and the blind; and I resent it. I believe in fighting hard for government resources to be spent on conservation but not based upon deceit. Mistakes were made?! This is weasel language. This is Reagan language. I believe the problem lies with the Greatest Generation who after the great depression and a world war they were so happy to be alive they spoiled the Less Than the Greatest Generation, and from O.J. to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush no one wanted to be held accountable. And from Wall Street to the American Catholic Church to Cornell there has been a collapse of authority. I grieve after the damage the Ivory-billed Woodpecker event did to the authority of Cornell.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2011 on The Meruahan Birding Association at ABA Blog
Late 20th century rational beings believing in an alive Ivory-billed Woodpecker must be the result of fraud, self-delusion, Barnum effects, confirmatory biases, or failures to appreciate the base rate of chance occurrences. The same is true for modern people believing they can speak to their dead loved ones during séances. The perpetrators of these frauds manipulate the same emotional weaknesses of their audience. I would like to speak to my dead parents approximately the same amount as I wished that an extinct bird could come back alive. {Maybe more for the woodpecker. Sorry Mother issues!} The motive of financial gain is the same for M. Blavatsky and for whoever set up the Ivory-billed Woodpecker recovery team. That smart scientific minded 19th century ornithologists fell for this bunkum shows just how strong this urge is in all humans.
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2011 on The Meruahan Birding Association at ABA Blog
“It's not the strangest thing a birder has ever done” Maybe we can vote on what that would be! I would suggest birder Alger Hiss’s testimony about seeing a Prothonotary Warbler on the Potomac (which corroborated Whittaker Chambers testimony) under questioning by non-birder Richard Nixon in 1949. Or Nathan Leopold killing two adult Kirtland's Warblers at nest and taking their three nestlings in preparation to kill little Bobby Franks with his pal Richard Loeb. Allan Octavian Hume, a renowned amateur ornithologist, was for a short time involved with Madame Blavatsky and Theosophy. He later believed her to be a fake. Theosophists were among the people who founded the Indian National Congress including Hume. Mr. Wright’s excavation into the intellectual foundations of modern birding may shine a light on the “sentimental” and “a feeling for the organism” currents that flow in the bird watching community as discussed on this blog recently by Ted Floyd. I see a connection between these two scientists dalliance with Theosophy and the reaction of a majority of birders to the Blavatsky-like implications in the Ivory-billed Woodpecker caper. I am not really one to talk as I bird and do scientifical bird stuff like participate in Christmas Counts, e-Bird and still believe in transubstantiation among other concepts.
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2011 on The Meruahan Birding Association at ABA Blog
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Mar 11, 2011