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Old 29th January 2018, 06:37 AM   #161
dann
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No, you missed the point completely!

You list a number of alleged "legends and myths" and expect us to analyze each and everyone of them. And some of them don't even come near to being legends and myths. The destruction of Pompeii, for instance, was noticed and recorded by contemporary historians in writing - and not 40,000 years ago.

I could make another list of myths and legends that turned out to be completely false, but what's the point?! You argue the same way that superstitious people argue: Since certain ideas rejected by science "were later shown to be true", it should somehow make this one more credible. Not because science has proved it to be true, but merely because science has been wrong before - which nobody's denied in this thread as far as I know, but please prove me wrong.

Good luck with that! The rest of us would like to see some hard evidence that birds come close to doing what, allegedly, "many experts now agree" that they do.
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Old 29th January 2018, 06:42 AM   #162
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double post, sorry.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old 29th January 2018, 12:04 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
No, you missed the point completely!

You list a number of alleged "legends and myths" and expect us to analyze each and everyone of them. And some of them don't even come near to being legends and myths. The destruction of Pompeii, for instance, was noticed and recorded by contemporary historians in writing - and not 40,000 years ago.

I could make another list of myths and legends that turned out to be completely false, but what's the point?! You argue the same way that superstitious people argue: Since certain ideas rejected by science "were later shown to be true", it should somehow make this one more credible. Not because science has proved it to be true, but merely because science has been wrong before - which nobody's denied in this thread as far as I know, but please prove me wrong.

Good luck with that! The rest of us would like to see some hard evidence that birds come close to doing what, allegedly, "many experts now agree" that they do.
I'm not saying that this one is any more credible, just that it should not be dismissed out of hand the way some posters are doing, by calling them just"fairy stories". Real scientists do not dismiss things out of hand.

“We wish to find the truth, no matter where it lies. But to find the truth we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact.” ― Carl Sagan.
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Old 29th January 2018, 01:37 PM   #164
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Quote:
The rest of us would like to see some hard evidence that birds come close to doing what, allegedly, "many experts now agree" that they do.
Talk about unfounded claims.... the "rest of the world" is hardly concerned with an ornithological bit of behaviour.

There is simply no "hard evidence" you would accept as any video can be doctored.

You have demonstrated a distinct lack of understanding of how scientific method works and what the interlocking aspects are ....one of which is anecdotal which SG laid out for you.

You don't even have the background to assess such "hard evidence"....and that is very evident.

Some of use with long experience with birding, experience even with the actual species and the environment covered .....find the thesis credible but you with no relevant experience and a poor understanding of scientific method have the temerity to pass judgement,
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Old 29th January 2018, 05:19 PM   #165
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There are obvious problems with Intentional Fire-Spreading by “Firehawk” Raptors in Northern Australia
The first is that the "intentional" assertion is based on the opinions of the observers. What they see are birds at a fire picking up objects that turn out to be on fire and then dropping them. As already pointed out, this may be accidental.
The second is that the authors do not seem to include any biologists or ornithologists who would have detailed knowledge of the behavior of birds.
Quote:
1Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Pennsylvania State University-Altoona
2Central Land Council, 27 Stuart Hwy, Alice Springs, 0870, Northern Territory, Australia
3Tropical Australia Media, Mareeba, Queensland, Australia
4Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service, Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, Australia
5School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
6Environmental Resource Management Program, Pennsylvania State University

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Old 29th January 2018, 05:42 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
There are obvious problems with Intentional Fire-Spreading by “Firehawk” Raptors in Northern Australia
The first is that the "intentional" assertion ...
While your points are valid, "intentional" is the hypothesis. That's what they were looking to support.

With titles like this and with research conclusions, people often forget it's not saying, "proven". They looked at evidence of intention. That there are two other explanations (accidental and didn't happen), should be addressed in the conclusions. They can be but don't need to be addressed in the goal or problem statement of the study.
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Old 29th January 2018, 06:33 PM   #167
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Ummm Robert Gosford

Quote:
An ornithologist is out to find definitive proof on the theory Australian desert birds of prey intentionally spread fire to smoke out their unsuspecting targets.

Northern Territory lawyer-turned ornithologist Bob Gosford is determined to prove something he said Australian Aborigines have known about for centuries
Quote:
"I've spent the last 10 years and more working in this field of ethno-ornithology, in Australia, in New Zealand, with Papua New Guinean people and increasingly with people in places like Africa and Central America," Mr Gosford said.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-0...-birds/7216934

Quote:
When I talked to Aboriginal people about it later, they said 'well that's what the birds do.'
Bob Gosford, ornithologist
Note the one study of it 2006 cited concluded it did not conform to "tool use" and that is a valid caveat

From the raptor standpoint - the rewards of working around fires outweigh the risk as those fires are vicious.

I got a serious faceful of heat getting a bit too close to this in Kakadoo.


Coolest job in the world dropping firebombs from a helicopter.
Maybe the birds copied the copters
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Old 29th January 2018, 11:11 PM   #168
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I dare say a study would check out things like the birds REPEATEDLY picking up sticks and starting a new fire, then when prey levels drop, going back and getting another stick and doing the process again- that is one of the things I would be checking if I was running the zoo/doing the study

That would imply intent, doing it once may just be an accident, but birds repeatedly doing it, or multiple birds doing it would imply intent (another thing to look for is the instances of picking up sticks that arent alight and comparing them to the number that were)

Personally I think the study should get more data, the more the better as always, if it is shown that birds do use fire as a tool it would be interesting

(Birds can be seriously smart, I had a budgie that knew how to open the door on his cage whenever he wanted a fly around, tried pegs, he figured out how to get them off, twist ties he undid, in the end a small suitcase padlock fixed him- but I reckon if you left the key nearby he would have figured it out too eventually lol)
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Old 29th January 2018, 11:13 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
Ummm Robert Gosford :

Ummm indeed!

So let’s see what macdoc’s ”Northern Territory lawyer-turned ornithologist Bob Gosford” has to say about this – in addition to his determination ”to prove something he said Australian Aborigines have known about for centuries.”

1) ” Mr Gosford said he had never actually seen a bird at a fire front, intentionally spreading the fire.”
2) ” Mr Gosford said he would not be satisfied until he saw the behaviour for himself, and captured it on camera.
A very commendable attitude, Mr Gosford! It’s what the rest of us are looking forward to seeing! Please go on:
3) ”So this winter, Mr Gosford will be chasing fires across the central Australian desert alongside researchers from the United States.”

So what did Bob and his team of U.S. American researchers come up with?!
The article is from March 2016, which means that Australia has experienced two winters since then, but, apparently, not a single bird-carrying-burning-stick video footage … unless Bob is simply withholding evidence.

Or maybe they just didn’t have any bushfires to observe? No, that can't be it ...
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Old 29th January 2018, 11:28 PM   #170
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Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
Talk about unfounded claims.... the "rest of the world" is hardly concerned with an ornithological bit of behaviour.

There is simply no "hard evidence" you would accept as any video can be doctored.

So without any evidence at all, you are able to tell how I would accept the "hard evidence" in the shape of a video, which you don't happen to have! Brilliant! It bodes well for your understanding of "how scientific method works":

Quote:
You have demonstrated a distinct lack of understanding of how scientific method works and what the interlocking aspects are ....one of which is anecdotal which SG laid out for you.

You don't even have the background to assess such "hard evidence"....and that is very evident.

Some of use with long experience with birding, experience even with the actual species and the environment covered .....find the thesis credible but you with no relevant experience and a poor understanding of scientific method have the temerity to pass judgement,

So the only problem in this case is that I don't have "the background to assess" the hard evidence that you (and everybody else, apparently) can't deliver. It takes a lot of "temerity" to come up with the idea that actual evidence can be replaced by BIIIIG (but completely irrelevant) photos of bushfires and excessive use of highligt.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 30th January 2018, 12:21 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by Dabop View Post
(Birds can be seriously smart, I had a budgie that knew how to open the door on his cage whenever he wanted a fly around, tried pegs, he figured out how to get them off, twist ties he undid, in the end a small suitcase padlock fixed him- but I reckon if you left the key nearby he would have figured it out too eventually lol)
Keas (a type of NZ parrot) are very, very smart (ask any skier). Some of the following require multiple steps to get the result

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Many years ago, a friend of my brother in law used to work in a wildlife sanctuary near the southern lakes. They had a resident Kea with a damaged wing. He could not fly, so he was never returned to the wild.

This particular Kea would undo the two plastic squeeze-cam snap locks on a satchel, like these...



...flip the cover open, and then undo a full length zipper to get the food inside. It was the way the Kea did it that fascinated me. His beak was too big to squeeze the two cams on the snap lock at the same time, so he would grip the strap with one foot, and pull the tension up. Then he would push in one of the cams until it released a little, then, holding the tension on the strap, push in the other cam and the snap lock came apart. One day, brother in law decided to play a prank, and replace the squeeze-cam snap locks with centrepush snap lock buckles similar to this.....



It took the bird a couple of minutes to figure out how to open the first one, and once it succeeded, there was no experimenting on the other one; it opened the other buckle in seconds. I saw this with my own eyes, and most important, the Kea wasn't taught or trained in any way to do this. The bloody thing worked it all out for itself.
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Old 30th January 2018, 12:32 AM   #172
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Oh, and crows are pretty damned smart too

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Old 30th January 2018, 12:33 AM   #173
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Oh, and crows are pretty damned smart too

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I think everyone knows birds are smart. What that has to do with the OP is anyone's guess.
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Old 30th January 2018, 02:54 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I think everyone knows birds are smart. What that has to do with the OP is anyone's guess.
Smart enough to undo twistties, buckles and zips to find food, but not smart enough to notice that prey animals run away from fires, so starting/spreading a fire will make more prey available....
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Old 30th January 2018, 03:41 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by Dabop View Post
Smart enough to undo twistties, buckles and zips to find food, but not smart enough to notice that prey animals run away from fires, so starting/spreading a fire will make more prey available....
This is a silly post. Are birds capable of using an iPhone and ordering pizza? Seems a pretty good way of getting food..........
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Old 30th January 2018, 04:01 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Are birds capable of using an iPhone and ordering pizza? Seems a pretty good way of getting food..........

That would just be opportunistic, it's not a viable long-term strategy since birds don't understand the concept of "money".


Yet.
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Old 30th January 2018, 04:59 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by Dabop View Post
Smart enough to undo twistties, buckles and zips to find food, but not smart enough to notice that prey animals run away from fires, so starting/spreading a fire will make more prey available....
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Old 30th January 2018, 08:58 AM   #178
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Originally Posted by Dabop View Post
Smart enough to undo twistties, buckles and zips to find food, but not smart enough to notice that prey animals run away from fires, so starting/spreading a fire will make more prey available....

You'd need a cage where the twisties, buckles and zips give the birds an electric shock if they try to hold on to them at one end, but not at the other.
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Old 30th January 2018, 11:40 AM   #179
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
You'd need a cage where the twisties, buckles and zips give the birds an electric shock if they try to hold on to them at one end, but not at the other.

First, you would raise the ire of animal rights type who would claim cruelty

Second, so long as you marked the "hot" end (birds can see which end of a stick is burning) then I have absolutely no doubt that these smart birds would work that out after a few attempts.

If you watch the crow displacement of water video, you will see that when it was faced with two cylinders, one which pushed the food up and one that didn't, it took just a couple of goes to work out which one to drop the displacers into.
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Old 30th January 2018, 12:16 PM   #180
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Have a look at this TedX presentation by Avian researcher Dr. John Marzluff, Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington in Seattle.

If you're open minded, you will come to realise that birds are a lot smarter than you give them credit for. Some of the stuff described here makes fire-starting look like chick's play.

If you're closed minded, don't even bother watching... you'll be wasting your time.

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Old 30th January 2018, 01:40 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Keas (a type of NZ parrot) are very, very smart (ask any skier)....
Nice example of bird problem solving.
However examples do not tell us that the specific behavior in this thread exists. It is that point which has to be established first.

Think about birds that are not as good at solving problems. Would we conclude that birds are stupid and so this fire starting behavior cannot be correct? The answer is no. We would concede that various species of birds have various levels of skills and we cannot generalize between them. We need to learn more about the species of birds that may be involved in fire starting behavior and get better evidence of the actual behavior.

For example, ask an ornithologist: Do these species have problem solving skills in other areas?

Then there are the problems with anecdotal evidence:
Is there any selective reporting, e.g. are there unreported birds that drop the sticks into the fire?
Could it just be random? With many birds picking up burning sticks and dropping them at random, some of the sticks will fall outside of the fire.
Could it be visibility (we just do not see sticks being dropped into the fire because of the fire)?
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Old 30th January 2018, 04:57 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
Nice example of bird problem solving.
However examples do not tell us that the specific behavior in this thread exists. It is that point which has to be established first.
I'm not arguing that birds dropping burning sticks to create fires is happening. I am arguing against the notion some here have put forward, that this is impossible because it requires a two step solution (in this case, take one action that leads to another action that leads to prey being driven from fire), and that birds are not capable of thinking two steps ahead.

Well, that is simply rubbish. The facts are, as has been clearly demonstrated in these videos, that birds are indeed capable of thinking multiple steps ahead to achieve a result.

1. The kea in the first video had to move a heavy lump of firewood (one step) into order to get the wheelie bin lid open (second step) to get to the food. It even propped the bottom of the lid up with its left foot to stop it closing.

2. The kea in the second video had to turn a handle, remove a pin, flip a lever, push a tab aside and pull a string to get the cart out to get to the food... that is five steps.

3. The Crow in the last video understood that dropping objects into water makes the water rise, and that solid objects worked better than hollow objects, and that it was quicker make the water rise in a narrow tube than a wide tube. The last problem was astonishing. Given two tubes, only one of which is connected to a third tube containing the food, the crow only took a couple of tries, watching the water level each time, to determine which tube it had to drop the objects into to get the water to rise.

4. Finally the crow in the TedX video fashioned a piece of wire into a hook to lift a small bucket of food out. The way it went about fashioning the hook was amazing enough in itself!

These birds clearly had an understanding of cause and effect.
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Old 30th January 2018, 05:40 PM   #183
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Quote:
However examples do not tell us that the specific behavior in this thread exists. It is that point which has to be established first.
A trained ornithologist has accumulated enough eye witness reports to publish.
He is currently on a task to photograph it for his own satisfaction.

Were you to ask him at this point ....he would most likely say.
"Most certainly but I have not seen it myself."

Once more

Sufficient anecdotal evidence exists across different species and areas to warrant a thesis

The thesis does not requite a skill set, mental or physical, beyond that available to the three species...they all have the ability to undertake picking up a burning stick and moving it and are presented with the opportunity in the environment they live in

There is also sufficient benefit in the behavior described to see reinforcement.

The more interesting aspect .....is the behaviour taught to young? ....ie cultural by region.
( think certain techniques for foraging/breaking nuts for example in great apes )

This is another "unlikely behaviour" - this time in a group of raptors...

Quote:
ZOOLOGGER 23 September 2015
Zoologger: The only raptor known to hunt in cooperative packs
https://www.newscientist.com/article...erative-packs/

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Old 30th January 2018, 06:13 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I'm not arguing that birds dropping burning sticks to create fires is happening. I am arguing against the notion some here have put forward, that this is impossible because it requires a two step solution (in this case, take one action that leads to another action that leads to prey being driven from fire), and that birds are not capable of thinking two steps ahead.
...
These birds clearly had an understanding of cause and effect.
I agree - so long as we restrict ourselves to "those birds" and do not generalize to these other birds (my point).
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Old 30th January 2018, 06:30 PM   #185
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
This is a silly post. Are birds capable of using an iPhone and ordering pizza? Seems a pretty good way of getting food..........
Love ya LK, but you really need to un-dig those heels and find common ground.
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Old 30th January 2018, 06:37 PM   #186
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Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
I agree - so long as we restrict ourselves to "those birds" and do not generalize to these other birds (my point).
Its not as if crows and the like are smarter and raptors are so dumb they cant learn anything

Oh wait

I agree that at the moment there is no formal proof, but only anecdotal claims, imho there is enough to at least see if this can be proven or not- my feeling at this time is that it is likely, but not proven, but certainly not impossible
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Old 30th January 2018, 06:52 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
A trained ornithologist has accumulated enough eye witness reports to publish.
We know that the paper contains eye witness reports. Whether the anecdotal evidence is sufficient for a thesis is a matter of opinion. Is 1 story sufficient or 10 or 1000?

Robert Gosford is described as an ethno-ornithologist however what ornithology training he has is not stated. The impression I get from what little I can find out about him is an knowledgeable amateur concentrating more on the ethno than the ornithology.

Bob Gosford lists his blog entries, presentations, articles, etc. but published ornithology specific papers seem lacking.

It is a trained ornithologist who would have knowledge about the 3 species in the paper. If they have the ability to start fires deliberately then that ability will probably be reflected in other behavior. If there is some behavior that would produce the illusion of starting fires deliberately then a trained ornithologist might know it.

Unfortunately, a pay walled paper prevents us from finding out whether the authors have that expertise, did research or consulted an expert.
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Old 30th January 2018, 07:11 PM   #188
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Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
Robert Gosford is described as an ethno-ornithologist however what ornithology training he has is not stated. The impression I get from what little I can find out about him is an knowledgeable amateur concentrating more on the ethno than the ornithology.
Unfortunately, a pay walled paper prevents us from finding out whether the authors have that expertise, did research or consulted an expert.
You could write to him and ask

http://independent.academia.edu/BobGosford
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Old 30th January 2018, 08:55 PM   #189
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
Robert Gosford is described as an ethno-ornithologist however what ornithology training he has is not stated. The impression I get from what little I can find out about him is an knowledgeable amateur concentrating more on the ethno than the ornithology.
so only a degree in ornithology counts..??? that's a crock.. Papers are published all the time by amateurs and subject to peer review

Quote:
Meet the Amateur Comet Hunter Who Out-Gazes the Big Telescopes
Terry Lovejoy has discovered five comets from his home since 2007—something that's become harder and harder for humans to do.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...big-telescopes

and another Australian

Quote:
Robert Evans
An image of the Kepler supernova

Robert Evans is the only living member of this list. Born in 1937, Evans spent much of his life as a minister in the Uniting Church of Australia. He also happens to hold the all-time record for individual visual discoveries of supernovae. His ability is nothing short of amazing, requiring him to notice the tiniest burst of light in the night sky that wasn’t there before. In his profile of Evans in A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson likened Evans’ ability to being able to spot an added grain of salt on a tabletop covered in salt. Add to this the fact that Evans generally uses his own amateur’s 12 inch telescope, while other scientists have massive automatic professional devices, and his record of 40 discovered supernovae becomes even more impressive. He’s not only discovered supernovae, he’s added to our knowledge of them. In 1983 Evans discovered a previously unknown type of supernova called a type 1C.
http://scribol.com/anthropology-and-...ur-scientists/

Quote:
While it is difficult to measure such things, amateurs today seem to be making significant contributions across a broad range of scientific disciplines-especially in astronomy and field biology.

"What's really exciting is that we're making new discoveries with amateurs," reports David B. Wake, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Amateur Scientists Making Significant Discoveries While Fighting To Receive Recognition And Respect

Increasing numbers of scientists, for example, are making use of data collected each year by volunteers during the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count
(E. Pennisi, The Scientist, Dec. 11, 1989, page 1). Indeed, many scientists prize the data gathered for the avian census and similar biological surveys.
https://www.the-scientist.com/?artic...n-And-Respect/

Ornithology in terms of behavior is particularly dependent on field observation by amateurs.
Just because they don't make their living in a particular field has really little to do with their expertise in the field.
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Old 30th January 2018, 09:35 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
Ornithology in terms of behavior is particularly dependent on field observation by amateurs.
Just because they don't make their living in a particular field has really little to do with their expertise in the field.
Indeed, in many fields of science, it is often experienced and knowledgeable amateurs who have the time to spend doing the hours and hours of observations that professional scientists simply don't have.
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Old 30th January 2018, 09:55 PM   #191
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
If you watch the crow displacement of water video, you will see that when it was faced with two cylinders, one which pushed the food up and one that didn't, it took just a couple of goes to work out which one to drop the displacers into.

Did the cylinder that pushed the food up have any unpleasant side effects?

Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I am arguing against the notion some here have put forward, that this is impossible ....

Who? When? Where?

Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
If you're closed minded, don't even bother watching... you'll be wasting your time.

Who usually criticizes skeptics for being closed minded and for not accepting anecdotal evidence?

Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
A trained ornithologist has accumulated enough eye witness reports to publish.
He is currently on a task to photograph it for his own satisfaction.

I don't know how trained he is. We know that he was on a task to photograph it in the Australian winter of 2016 two years ago. Do we know that he still is?

Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
Robert Gosford is described as an ethno-ornithologist however what ornithology training he has is not stated. The impression I get from what little I can find out about him is an knowledgeable amateur concentrating more on the ethno than the ornithology.

We still have to give him credit for saying that 1) he hasn't seen the alleged behavior himself, 2) knows that video footage is essential and 3) is trying to produce it.

Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Indeed, in many fields of science, it is often experienced and knowledgeable amateurs who have the time to spend doing the hours and hours of observations that professional scientists simply don't have.
And Australian universities would consider it a waste of time and ressources to have professional scientists find out if birds spread bushfires.
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Old 30th January 2018, 10:48 PM   #192
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
There's a big difference between picking up something that you want to eat, but can't crack, and picking up something that has nothing to do with what you want to eat, doesn't look or smell like anything you want to eat, and may even burn you.
Hmmmm! Really?

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I AGREE


Not only does it pick up a piece of wire, something that "has nothing to do with what you want to eat" and "doesn't look or smell like anything you want to eat" and tries to use it to get the food, but when it fails, it fashions the piece of wire into a tool (a hook) to lift the food out. It hasn't been "taught" to do this, it worked that out for itself. The crow understand cause and effect.
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Old 30th January 2018, 11:30 PM   #193
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And when does it get burned? Or experience any other unpleasant sensation?!
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Old 31st January 2018, 01:54 AM   #194
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
And when does it get burned? Or experience any other unpleasant sensation?!
Why would the bird get burned?

Firstly, in the tinder dry situation of "extreme fire risk" in Australian forests, as little as a single glowing ember can start a huge fire. Ask any SES firefighter, and they will tell you that glowing embers play a significant part in spreading forest fires. They are often small and lightweight; they become airborne and get caught in massive updrafts and then carried dozens of kilometres ahead of the fire front, starting spot fires when they alight.

Secondly, these raptors, particularly black kites and whistling kites, are not at all afraid of getting very close to fires.





Thirdly, it is not unusual for these kites to carry large branches, at least as long as their body or longer



One of these birds could easily get close enough to a small fire to pull out a branch a couple of feet long with smouldering embers on one end without putting itself in any real danger, and then carry it aloft without any chance of setting itself alight. The end of the branch does not even have to be in flames, only smouldering.

Now, I'm not saying that this firehawk thing is happening, but I am saying that there is nothing physically precluding it from being a possibility, and certainly, the reasons you have put forward for it not being probable simply do not pass muster. These birds are NOT afraid of fire, and they could easily do as has been suggested by Bob Gosford et al, without putting themselves in any real danger.
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Old 31st January 2018, 02:58 AM   #195
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Northern Australia, with its sparser and spindlier woodlands that are subject to annual indigenous traditional burn offs, doesn’t get the same level fire that is found in the south of the country. While all wildfires can be dangerous, the fires are not raging forrest infernos. The regular burn offs mean the main fuels are tall grass browned in the dry season, and a season’s worth of fallen branches, trunks, pandanus, and white-ant hollowed standing timber. Smoking embers wth cool unburnt ends remain on the blackened earth for some time after the fast moving relatively cool fire has passed.
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Old 31st January 2018, 04:35 AM   #196
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Why would the bird get burned?

It wouldn't, and that was my point, the one you didn't highlight: "and may even burn you".

Quote:
Firstly, in the tinder dry situation of "extreme fire risk" in Australian forests, as little as a single glowing ember can start a huge fire. Ask any SES firefighter, and they will tell you that glowing embers play a significant part in spreading forest fires. They are often small and lightweight; they become airborne and get caught in massive updrafts and then carried dozens of kilometres ahead of the fire front, starting spot fires when they alight.

This has already been mentioned, but you don't seem to notice what it implies: Sometimes firebreaks aren't effective. Birds aren't necessary for fires to spread beyond them.


Quote:
Secondly, these raptors, particularly black kites and whistling kites, are not at all afraid of getting very close to fires.

Maybe they aren't, but I'd still like to know how close they actually get. Depth perception is extremely deceptive in photos - especially when photographed at a long distance.


Quote:
Thirdly, it is not unusual for these kites to carry large branches, at least as long as their body or longer.

I know. Most birds do. Even my lovebirds, as I've already mentioned. They even manage to set drinking straws on fire, albeit accidentally.


Quote:
One of these birds could easily get close enough to a small fire to pull out a branch a couple of feet long with smouldering embers on one end without putting itself in any real danger, and then carry it aloft without any chance of setting itself alight. The end of the branch does not even have to be in flames, only smouldering.

I've mentioned that already, and I don't think that anybody claims that a bird couldn't pick up a long stick smoldering at one end. The question is: Would it? And if it did, would it be deliberate or accidental?

Quote:
Now, I'm not saying that this firehawk thing is happening, but I am saying that there is nothing physically precluding it from being a possibility, and certainly, the reasons you have put forward for it not being probable simply do not pass muster. These birds are NOT afraid of fire, and they could easily do as has been suggested by Bob Gosford et al, without putting themselves in any real danger.

You claim that they are NOT afraid of fire, but I don't believe you. All animals seem to be afraid of fire, even though some animals can be trained to overcome their fears. Some birds appear to have completely overcome their tendency to avoid fires by noticing prey fleeing from them, but what I would like to know is how close to these fires the birds actually get, and the photos don't provide much evidence of this.
The physical possibilities are rather uninteresting. You seem to think that somebody's denied them. At the beginning of this thread I shared my own anecdotal evidence of my lovebirds and the (unintentional) fire hazard they posed in my kitchen.
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old 31st January 2018, 02:51 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
so only a degree in ornithology counts..???
That is not what I wrote!:
Quote:
Robert Gosford is described as an ethno-ornithologist however what ornithology training he has is not stated. The impression I get from what little I can find out about him is an knowledgeable amateur concentrating more on the ethno than the ornithology.

Bob Gosford lists his blog entries, presentations, articles, etc. but published ornithology specific papers seem lacking.
That is about
  • Evidence of training in ornithology and/or
  • A record of publishing papers on ornithology
Both of which are lacking for Robert Gosford. A degree in ornithology would be nice because that is evidence of training in ornithology and probably a record of publishing papers on ornithology.
To which I will add evidence of any expertise in ornithology, e.g. an avid birdwatcher might be a member of a bird watching society.

Not having a degree does not stop what looks like (according to the evidence) a knowledgeable amateur like Robert Gosford from knowing about ornithology But we do not have evidence about the level of that knowledge.

I did not write that being an amateur prevents him from publishing a paper in a peer reviewed journal.

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Old 31st January 2018, 06:07 PM   #198
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Sorry but that's a total red herring ...the guy has the chops for this work IMNSHO.
Criticize the work ....not the author. Are you a trained ornithologist with published work that can judge him ?? No.

He has collected observations and a thesis and is seeking further confirmation through his own field work.
His scholastic training in ornithology is immaterial...he has field experience and sufficient scholastic training as a lawyer to present his case.
He's not some rube from the gold diggings.

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Old 31st January 2018, 06:51 PM   #199
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Having personally watched a raccoon pick up two candles one at a time and turn them over to snuff the flame out in order to 'turn out the light' we were watching them with, it's clear we underestimate the knowledge a few animals have about fire. It's not all about panic, some of them have some understanding of fire.
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Old 31st January 2018, 07:08 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
Sorry but that's a total red herring ...
Real world facts are not a red herring. The information on Bob Gosford is not good enough to establish as you put it "the chops for this work". You have not produced such evidence. I have failed to find evidence for this and I have looked. IMO as a skeptic, that gives a gap of knowledge about the bird behavior that he is studying that needs to be filled.

The problem is that we do not see that gap being filled in the paper at least in the abstract. This is not an issue with Bob Gosford. This is a problem with the paper.

We know that the authors of the paper have collected anecdotes and formulated a thesis. We know that Bob Gosford is seeking further confirmation through his own field work.

I have been clear that he is at least a knowledgeable amateur not "some rube from the gold diggings":
an knowledgeable amateur
a knowledgeable amateur like Robert Gosford

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