Hmmm…I see the point of my posting was apparently missed. Let me attempt to clarify. However, first let me say that there is nothing wrong with someone having concerns about how information is handled and disseminated by an organization. That certainly does not mean a person is taking “pot shots” at someone. And Holiday Spirit should not be a factor in it. There still is responsibility and accountability in a job even if it is voluntary. And of course most jobs are thankless and hard. I have expressed appreciation to those who have given their time. And even if I am occasionally critical, that does not mean I do not like the people or organizations. Actually the fact that I do like them is the reason I sometimes express concern. After all, if I didn’t like the people or GOS or Audubon why would I be a member? Why would I pay them money and give time? Why would I travel the state, answer people’s questions, take photos of birds and make them available?
I have no confusion as to how the transcription process works. I have called the RBA countless times. I have followed the process for many years. And yes, Michael does the transcription sometimes. And when he does it, he does an excellent job at it. I have volunteered to transcribe the RBA also. I understand about volunteering for things. I have volunteered with birding, scouts, 4-H, church, etc.
My comment was not about Jeff Sewell. He does compile the RBA. His compilations are usually very current. Sometimes he provides insight into the status of a particular rarity or gives clues as to how to best relocate a bird. I assume most birders know his role. I am disappointed that the buck was immediately passed to him. Looking back at my post though I did mention subject matter of the RBA which is under his control, so I see the point that was made. Back to the transcriptions, though.
Here are some of the concerns I have with RBA transcriptions:
Certain things are transcribed, certain things are not from the compiled RBA. I understand things are summarized and there is only so much space allowed for the transcription.
A lot of times important info is left out inappropriately. Sometimes it is added inappropriately.
In the header sometimes a bird like Brant is capitalized and in bold and sometimes it is not.
Sometimes labels are attached to birds like “Possible”, “Probable”, and “Exotic” when it is not appropriate to do so.
Sometimes birds are labeled as “Not Seen” even if no one has even gone to look for the bird. That is misleading.
Many times discovered birds are not put on the transcriptions, but relocated birds are. I have always found that strange.
Some transcriptions appear to be given high priority without sufficient reason.
Some RBA reports are not transcribed and the birds not mentioned in later transcriptions.
Some transcriptions are just plain wrong.
Of course, no system is perfect, and there will always be some mistakes. We all make mistakes with grammar and spelling and battle with forgetfulness and tight schedules. That is fine, and I assume we all understand that. I usually try to congratulate others privately or express my appreciation. So, thanks to all who volunteer their time or contribute with a bird photo or a keen eye. I do hope, though, that concerns and comments that are not always politically correct are not just dismissed as a Grinch’s “pot shots”. I have enjoyed GABO for what it is. GABO is a rich forum of insights and musings where hopefully we all appreciate the thrill of discovery inherent in birdwatching, and the camaraderie shared by the pursuit of it.
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