Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003 12:24:32 -0500
Reply-To: Swillis <swillis@WAYXCABLE.COM>
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Swillis <swillis@WAYXCABLE.COM>
Subject: GOS Field Checklists & Bachman's Sparrow clarification
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
This is just a short note to clarify my recent posting about the GOS
Field Checklists. These were offered as downloadable to the public from
the GOS website, but I accidentally saw that they had the statement that
certain species would not be on the list because of their being extinct
or nearly that. I mentioned that for some reason Bachman's Sparrow was
on that list and was still a population, tho declining. I clearly stated
in my posting that I suspected it was simply a typo for Bachman's
Warbler. Let me say I was meaning only to be helpful.
Because of that particular posting, I have been called to task for
sending that observation directly to GABO and not to Jim Flynn (the
webmaster) first. By the way, this did not come from Jim. Thus, it
appears that my intentions & motivations have been misconstrued by at
least some members of GOS. As there may be more "out there in GABOland"
thinking the same thing, I felt it only proper to clarify the
message--also on GABO-- since this was my original post site. I don't
want anyone getting the wrong idea about this or any future or past
messages from me.
First, it was in no way intended to be a "public" criticism of either
Jim Flynn or anyone who deals with the GOS Field Checklists. Having
prepared many checklists & other documents myself, I know full well how
despite careful checking that misspelled & other unclear information can
occur, either from my end or from the printers. Personally, as I have
gotten older, those little letters seem to get even smaller & harder to
Secondly, I'll answer the concern about why I used GABO & not a private
message to Jim. I thought that since these Field Checklists had been
posted for the public to read & use that there might be someone who had
previously copied these lists down who might want to know the deal with
the Bachman's Sparrow, especially if they weren't that familiar with it
but knew that it was declining. These last few decades have seen birds
going from one status to another, & it's a challenge to stay on top of
Since GABOites routinely provide current information of all sorts, I
didn't think there would be anything wrong with me doing that in this
instance. I had no idea that some would consider this inappropriate and
become so concerned as to send me a separate message about it and
instruct me to do otherwise in the future.
Let me say I know for a personal fact that Jim is a wonderfully
responsive person and one of "our" best birding experts who is dedicated
to quality in all areas. We are so lucky to have him involved in so many
ways. So it wasn't a case of my thinking he didn't know the situation
with Bachman's Sparrow or that I thought he might not post a notice of
the correction (since we, the public, should be informed about any
significant changes coming from a public website).
And the last time I looked, GABO/GOS was for everyone and not restricted
to certain individuals, geographic areas, only a few key topics (except
for certain traditional standard exceptions), or specialized writing
styles. I can (from personal experience) see where an organization needs
to have certain things funneled thru channels for a variety of reasons,
but I don't think this was a "life & death" situation. We should be
serious about the things that really matter.
I do think that all the above is appropriate to post here. It is a part
of our "birding issues" because it comes under the area of communication
between members of the birding community & misunderstandings that arise
from that which might affect the reports on birds in our state. I'm not
just referring to myself or any particular situation here and simply
mention "see past historical occurrences" as a reference point. For a
variety of reasons, there exist many undercurrents of rejection which is
sad but unfortunately is not unique to GABO/GOS, etc.
So I hope that explains things a little better. Believe it or not, I
don't spend my time pouring over GOS material looking for errors to
maliciously point out, and I don't claim to be, or have any intentions
of being, what is commonly known as a "hot shot" birder. Those aren't my
motives for posting anything at any time, and I know it's the same for
We simply love birds, enjoy learning all we can about them, and have fun
sharing with others our adventures and observations. I will, however,
personally admit to being an information junkie, map freak, and
statistics nut. Which is why I can hardly walk in my house for all the
books, papers, posters, etc. Oh well, such is life.
Take care everyone. Here's hoping that 2004 will be a bright new year
for us in all our lives in all the ways possible and that we find our
world still filled with the beauty & miracle of birds. God bless them
for their wonderful variety of being.
Waycross, Ware Co., GA
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