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What Would You Do: Someone badly misidentifying birds on a list

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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 18:26   #76
andyadcock
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Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
You may well be right: we do place a high premium on being right so put pressure on each other. Some get round the problem by saying nothing at all, which despite Ronan Keating's insistence is very rarely best.

However, you learn with your ears, not your mouth....

I never felt shy about saying "what's this?" because I am a filthy lister and the desire to know what I was looking at was always higher than the desire to avoid exposing my ignorance.

John
I think that often, the people we speak of are just VERY occasional birders who don't actually go out often at all. I know that some people who go out with local RSPB groups a couple of times a year, that is pretty much all they do.

I was lucky enough to have be 'raised' by some very good local birders and got a good grounding in common birds but I still make mistakes - a lot of em!

I also twitched regularly with one of the UK's finest birders, you have to be lucky I think and drop in with the right people. You can certainly improve but as I said before, some people will simply, never be very good, conversely, some people are just insanely gifted.


A

Last edited by andyadcock : Friday 26th January 2018 at 18:28.
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 12:07   #77
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Someone I know slightly has just started posting his lists for a site I cover regularly on eBird, as I do. I was amazed at how many more species he was recording compared to what I see so I checked one of his lists and found 12 species that I just don't believe.

I have decided that the correct thing to do is to alert the eBird staff to the situation. How they react is up to them, but they need to do something otherwise the value of eBird to any user looking for info on this site will be worthless.

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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 13:22   #78
Larry Sweetland
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taxonomic miscreants
what a brilliant expression! Can't wait to use it in the field.
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 16:05   #79
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I don't want to be disrespectful but, in the identification thread, someone has posted a pretty good picture (Wb Nuthatch) and cannot even get the genus right. If they hadn't got the shot for others to confirm, it may have gone to ebird or similar as Bc Chickadee?

It illustrates my point that some people just aren't very good and possibly never will be.



A
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 17:09   #80
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What I often do is to wait a moment, then exclaim the correct bird (as I did not hear the wrong identification) and eventually point the important identification marks.

The social discomfort of disagreeing is on the other people, then. If they still oppose, I don't argue. One can take horse to the water...
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Old Wednesday 31st January 2018, 23:26   #81
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Hauksen and Jurek have really provided 'best in class' models for addressing mis-identifications by other birders.
Highlighting the evidence is vastly preferable to 'proof by assertion', at least if one is trying for agreement. That applies even to the BF discussions of bird IDs from photos, an explanation of the reasons for a conclusion is enormously more valuable than the ID itself.
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Old Thursday 1st February 2018, 15:51   #82
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Actually, I most often correct people who know very little about birds. They see a coot and say: 'this is not a duck. Maybe this is a wild goose? Not, this is a young cormorant'.

I feel it is not necessary to describe differences between a coot and a cormorant. Sometimes I wonder if it is a polite attempt to start conversation, but I usually prefer to move birding...
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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 11:44   #83
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Attending crowded sites like Point Pelee during spring migration, you hear lots of misidentification going on and as has already been suggested, it's best to just ignore it. Sites that take such reports certainly know how to screen out the chaff and the errant people will either learn better ID or drop out. Speaking of Pelee, I once came across a couple of day trippers, a married couple, who had a female pheasant in view at a distance and were convinced it was something new to science. Since they spoke to me about it, I was on that occasion able to tell them what it really was.
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Old Monday 5th February 2018, 18:53   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
I don't want to be disrespectful but, in the identification thread, someone has posted a pretty good picture (Wb Nuthatch) and cannot even get the genus right. If they hadn't got the shot for others to confirm, it may have gone to ebird or similar as Bc Chickadee?

It illustrates my point that some people just aren't very good and possibly never will be.



A
Someone posted a picture of a marsh tit on Twitter the other day, asking for advice on whether it was a marsh tit or willow tit, and tagging '@Nature's_Voice'
The reply from RSPB identified it as a blackcap....
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2018, 14:12   #85
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Someone posted a picture of a marsh tit on Twitter the other day, asking for advice on whether it was a marsh tit or willow tit, and tagging '@Nature's_Voice'
The reply from RSPB identified it as a blackcap....
One can only hope it was someone at the RSPB with a sense of humour....cos if it wasn't

I must confess that I find these reported "grossly misidentified ID's" at variance to the norm and as such.....help to re-enforce the notion that general ID is down to having a very exacting skill, that which is a difficult and hard won experience to acquire, something I'm sure a lot of birders would want to subscribe to?

A degree of experience is certainly helpful, but at day end, cross referencing colour, tints and tones to a pre ordained shape in a field guide...is not exactly rocket science! However, taking ID to female/immature/ageing status, can and is often difficult, particularly if not seen well, perhaps in these cases best forgotten.

.....anyway confusing a Pheasant with a species "new to science"....am still trying to digest that one.
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2018, 15:27   #86
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.....anyway confusing a Pheasant with a species "new to science"....am still trying to digest that one.
Easier to digest than a Pheasant full of toxic lead shot . . . .
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2018, 16:47   #87
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One can only hope it was someone at the RSPB with a sense of humour....cos if it wasn't

I must confess that I find these reported "grossly misidentified ID's" at variance to the norm and as such.....help to re-enforce the notion that general ID is down to having a very exacting skill, that which is a difficult and hard won experience to acquire, something I'm sure a lot of birders would want to subscribe to?

A degree of experience is certainly helpful, but at day end, cross referencing colour, tints and tones to a pre ordained shape in a field guide...is not exactly rocket science! However, taking ID to female/immature/ageing status, can and is often difficult, particularly if not seen well, perhaps in these cases best forgotten.

.....anyway confusing a Pheasant with a species "new to science"....am still trying to digest that one.
I'm not so sure that applies to people when they first start birding. I'm sure I'd have been more than capable of making a mistake of the Blackcap/Marsh Tit type, for many months after getting into birding. The person who made the Blackcap/Marsh Tit mistake could easily get the hang of it after a bit more experience.....if they're not put off birding by people scoffing at them when they've just started the hobby.
I identified a Hedgesparrow on the garden fence as a Grasshopper Warbler using the field guide I had when I first started. I like to think I wouldn't do that now.

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Old Tuesday 6th February 2018, 16:48   #88
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My dad heard someone (a non-birder, thankfully) referring to Pied Wagtails as "baby Magpies" recently.

We let these people vote. A scary thought.
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2018, 17:12   #89
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My dad heard someone (a non-birder, thankfully) referring to Pied Wagtails as "baby Magpies" recently.
.
I've come across that too. When I first started birding I was told this by another kid my age. When I tried to put him right, he told me I was wrong, because his dad said so.
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2018, 17:22   #90
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I've come across that too. When I first started birding I was told this by another kid my age. When I tried to put him right, he told me I was wrong, because his dad said so.
A-h-h-h! Dads have got so much to answer for....very much a case of ''Sins of the Fathers''

I suspect you were very young at the time Larry with the Gropper/Dunnock mishap....leafing through the Observers Book of Birds with one mit and holding nappy with tother.
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2018, 17:28   #91
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I suspect you were very young at the time Larry with the Gropper/Dunnock mishap....leafing through the Observers Book of Birds with one mit and holding nappy with tother.
I was struggling to hear Lesser Whitethroats over the sound of my own rattle
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2018, 17:30   #92
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I was struggling to hear Lesser Whitethroats over the sound of my own rattle
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2018, 22:58   #93
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My dad heard someone (a non-birder, thankfully) referring to Pied Wagtails as "baby Magpies" recently.

We let these people vote. A scary thought.
First time I heard that particular work of genius it was a primary school teacher who wouldn't listen to the correction from her (birding family) pupil. I suspect it is actually true in every instance as many humans make the erroneous assumption that the human development/growth model applies to everything.

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Old Wednesday 7th February 2018, 07:29   #94
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At university I once witnessed a special case of how to misuse a identification key.
Some one got a stuffed oystercatcher and had to ID it.
Long red bill, red legs, black & white plumage.
Obviously a White Stork. Made me speechless.
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Old Wednesday 7th February 2018, 14:12   #95
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I'm not so sure that applies to people when they first start birding. I'm sure I'd have been more than capable of making a mistake of the Blackcap/Marsh Tit type, for many months after getting into birding. The person who made the Blackcap/Marsh Tit mistake could easily get the hang of it after a bit more experience.....if they're not put off birding by people scoffing at them when they've just started the hobby.
I identified a Hedgesparrow on the garden fence as a Grasshopper Warbler using the field guide I had when I first started. I like to think I wouldn't do that now.
Just to clarify, the person who posted the photos was aware it was either a marsh or willow tit...it was the RSPB who suggested blackcap! I'm guessing they probably had someone inexperienced responding to Twitter posts, perhaps looking at a 'garden birdwatch' crib sheet which may not have had marsh / willow tits on it.

Totally agree though that even putting birds into the right family is difficult at first, and we should all be tolerant of mistakes.
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Old Wednesday 7th February 2018, 14:40   #96
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Totally agree though that even putting birds into the right family is difficult at first, and we should all be tolerant of mistakes.
Keeping clearly focused on the idea that being tolerant of mistakes does not mean that they should not be corrected. Every day's a school day.

John
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Old Wednesday 7th February 2018, 14:53   #97
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First time I heard that particular work of genius it was a primary school teacher who wouldn't listen to the correction from her (birding family) pupil. I suspect it is actually true in every instance as many humans make the erroneous assumption that the human development/growth model applies to everything.

John
Indeed. My neighbor was recently going on about the "baby Sandhill Crane" walking around in her yard - she had a bit of trouble with the phrase "juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron" but at least she seemed happy to learn something new.
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Old Saturday 10th February 2018, 13:53   #98
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I agree with the previous poster, that sometimes the best way of correcting someone, is to come back enthusiastic with a response along the lines of "oh that is neat..where was it?" and then lead with questions such as "what makes you think it is this bird". And unfortunately large number, and a growing number at that it feels, can not take any suggestion that they might be wrong, and challenging is going to just cause them to double down. Especially if there are witnesses.
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