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Another Rant

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 

I love when some birders use certain criteria for bird ID that has nothing to do with te ID of the bird. If anyone ever says to you "it is 100% a so-and-so" or "it is a such-and-such because I've seen thousands", or "it is a blah-blah-blah because so-and-so said so"....ignore that person. None of those are statements about the bird's ID. They are only statements made in the hopes that you will believe them in the hopes they have convinced you that their expertise or someone else's expertise should not be questioned.

Do you know how many times experts have been wrong? Many!!! I just witnessed it twice yesterday regarding the discussion of a bird on-line. When someone asks me what a raptor is and they want to know why, I tell them the traits that make it that species, I don't say "because I said so". I learned early on if someone says one of those ridiculous statements above, they really aren't sure what they are talking about...TRUST ME! God, I love this blog, more rants to come.....

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Anonymous Drew said...


December 21, 2011 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

Jerry, I don't know what you're talking about. I've seen a million of those pesky starlings and I just know they're starlings--why?? I dunno cause they look like starlings :)

Great insights my friend! There is actually somethign that happened here in the last couple months that I haven;t commented on publicly, other than just asking for more information--but a certain bird was reported and dozens of others reported seeing it as well. But no one ever produced anything to really show why it was what they claimed it was. More than 1 person said that so-and-so told me it was so I believed them!

The flip side is when someone asks you why something is what it is and you explain it in detail, and with pictures, or a field guide in hand, and they just can't seem to figure it out. I guess I need to watch what I say...

December 21, 2011 at 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Someone just sent me a response today about a bird in question and said "I've never seen one look like that". As if that is a criteria for ID, considering all the variation in some species it is impossible to "see it all" or "know it all".

December 21, 2011 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

I Like your posting, Jerry. I'm currently reading Kenn Kaufman's "Field Guide to Advanced Birding" and the more I read, the more I'm amazed that I can correctly ID any birds at all! I especially like his chapter on principles and pitfalls of field identification. - Nancy Matro

December 21, 2011 at 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Thanks Nancy.

There is so much to learn. And understanding the pitfalls and the confusing aspects of field ID is extremely helpful. I have a blog entry almost ready on that subject, dealing with how people confuse one trait for another and how they misinterpret a field mark that actually applies to another species/sex/age/morph etc. I hear about it and see it all the time, it is easy to do, no doubt.

I hope to take more groups out in the field next year...or maybe do a winter trip

December 21, 2011 at 5:22 PM  

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