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~ The CBRC's McKay's Unicorn ~

CBRC#2000-042, Snow Bunting
at Half Moon Bay, San Mateo Co., California.
Western Birds 33:27, 2002  (Vol. 33, pg. 27, No. 1)

CBRC reports
is the link for the Western Birds index at
SORA where the CBRC annual reports are,
so you can read 'em and weep.  :)

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CBRC Rejection Unicorns

The California Bird Records Committee or CBRC asserts they
are assurring the accuracy of the avian historical record.
They do this with a group of 10 people passing judgement on bird
reports.  Somehow it is considered official, though I
never got to vote for them.

What sounds like it might not be a bad idea at first glance,
upon scrutiny of the reasons used to reject reports reveals
that perhaps the human error factor is too great for such
a system to work.  Egos, philosophies, and even grudges
and bias all affect voting tremendously.

It is a psuedo-scientific endeavor, and more of a boys club
opinion, yet sold as being officially scientifically binding.
It only takes 3 morons, er, members, to reject a good record.
If they get it wrong there are no ramifications.  They just
keep going and get more wrong, because it is not about making
sure the results are correct.  No one checks to see if the
reasons are honest or truthful as in 1991-035, and when shown
as not being so, they don't care.

Some CBRC members in particular are well-known for creating
mind-boggling reasons for rejection.  Things that one can
not even imagine could be real, are used as reasons to reject
obviously perfectly good bird reports.  These are rejection unicorns.
Made up figments of the imagination a CBRC member creates
because some are hooked on just saying no.

Making up a fantasmical reason to reject a bird report is in my
view a zillion times worse than a birder making up identifications.
To make up phony BS reasons to reject is lying.  It is cheating
the record. It is stealing from the accuracy they say they are
there to ensure.  It is not different than making up ID's.
Only the psuedo-intelluctual would think so and find it acceptable,
as the CBRC does.

Hell hath no fury like the CBRC if they think you made something up.
Yet, they make things up to reject good records, even to and
including that the observer made something up, such as we see on
1991-035.  But there are no consequences for them lying and
cheating, proving it is a boy's club, and only psuedo-science.
What happens to the child that is not diciplined?

About their Unicorns

Unicorns as most of you know, don't exist.  Some of the reasons
for CBRC rejection are just as ficticous.  Unicorns are alive
and well at the CBRC, and in fact common.  They have invented
several different kinds (subspecies) of them, as they have honed to
an art, making up BS reasons to reject valid bird reports.

This is born of a philosophy that if you use any reason conceiveable
or imaginable, including those based in fantasy, to vote no on a
bird report, only the very best (irrefutable) reports will contstitute
the official record.

That's fine, if you like throwing the baby out with the bath water
It results in a record just as biased as allowing any report to become
part of it would.  Just biased another way.  I have heard CBRC
members say they would rather throw out 99 good records than let one
bad one in.  Doesn't that create just as skewed results?

This is what that becomes.

A Snow Bunting seen flying over and heard calling in northern
California on the coast by an "experienced" birder.  It was
a bare-eyed observation.  And the report was from the kind of
observer any record committe should love to receive reports from,
one who knew the species.

This Snow Bunting was rejected because according to some members of
the CBRC (just a guess, the socal gang?) a McKay's Bunting could not
be eliminated in a flyover, and the observation did not meet the
"CBRC's standards of acceptance."

They have never published what these standards are, but clearly an
experienced expert seeing and identifying a bird they know well,
without binoculars, including hearing it call, is not an acceptable
acceptable bird record in California.  I guess they can not ID
anything without binoculars, bare-eyed, correctly.

How Unicorns work

It takes one moronic idiot to come up with the unicorn, whom then
proceeds to lobby a buddy or two and get a couple sycophant no votes
and voila!  REJECTED!

This Snow Bunting was rejected because it might have been something
that doesn't exist in California, a McKay's Bunting.  CBRC
psuedo-scientists rejected it because it might have been something
that never happened.  It could have been yeti too.

All anybody wants is for rejections to be for real reasons.

It is well known that Snow Buntings fly down the coast of California
occasionaly, but regularly.  They've been seen all the way to San Diego.
I saw one fly by the Palos Verdes Peninsula once.  I was smart
enough not to let the CBRC have its way with it in though.

McKay's Bunting lives in the Bering Sea, nesting on a few islands
and wintering mostly on the adjacent mainland coast of the Bering Sea.
It is very rare to accidental even nearby in southern Alaska.  There
are single vagrant records in British Columbia, Washington, and I think
one in northern Oregon.  McKay's does not regularly wander
widely like Snow Buntings do all the time.

Snow Bunting is known south to San Diego, CA, to Big Bend and
South Padre Island in Texas and in Florida.  There are many records
of Snow Buntings in California, mostly along the coast, northward,
where the experienced birder was.  They may not occur annually
but they are regular.  Some years multiple records occur.

McKay's Bunting is a Unicorn in California.  They don't exist
here.  There ain't no such animal. They are the stuff of fantasy.
We have proven 200 years of non-existence here.

Something that does not exist is a REASON to vote no?  It is at
the CBRC, where any reason is acceptable.  There have been many
Snows Buntings in CA, not one McKay's ever, yet they reject Snow
because it could have been McKays?  Is that logical?  Is it
reasonable?  Is it scientific?

So the type of "science" being practiced at the CBRC is one
in which they reject that which we know to occur, for that which we
know not to occur.  Something that never happened, that is the stuff
of fantasy, is a valid reason for rejection in the CBRC.  This is what
countless CBRC rejections are often made of.
Unicorns.  Things that don't exist.

If we extend this logic we should not accept Least Tern sightings
as they could be Little Terns.  We should not accept fly-by
Semipalmated Plovers that don't call as they could be Little Ringed Plovers.
No way can we accept migrant altitude Northern Harriers as they might be
Hen Harriers, and any Snowy Plover could be a Kentish Plover.

Some might say those examples are ridiculous, but they are not any
more so than rejecting a Snow Bunting because it might have been a McKay's.
It is rejecting that which we know for that we don't.  If the "reasoning"
can not withstand a simple extension of the logic, it is not good reasoning.

They assert this is assuring the accuracy of the scientific record
Unfortunately these rejection Unicorns are often used, mostly by the
same gang within the CBRC, the socal record wreckers.  I fail to see
the logic in rejecting an experts report of something we know to occur,
for the whimsical fantasy that something that never happened, might.

It is simply making up any reason to just say no.  It is not a
scientific conclusion but a wild crazy hypothesis.  Everything we know
in CA says it could not have been and was not a McKay's Bunting.
Which idiots think it could have been?  There are more reasonable UFO reports.

What would have happened if the observer submitted a McKay's Bunting?
It would have been rejected for not being able to eliminate Snow.
This is how the CBRC works.  This is science to them, but this is
not scientific.  They have a rejection reason for every season,
or circumstance, often different when it is their observation.

I don't believe this benefits science or the record.
They clearly are not really interested in the accuracy
of the record or they would see to it good reports like this
become part of it.

It has become a game to some, thereby ruining it.

If the CBRC answered to anybody but themselves, I can't imagine
how this would stand.  The people that make up stupid crazy
reasons just to say no, lack purity of intent, and should
not be allowed to review bird records.  There should be a
review of the review, done by none of them, and one instance of
making up BS to reject (like 1991-035), and you are out, for lack
of the objectivity required to do the job properly.

Countless records have been rejected due to these
rejection Unicorns. The CBRC has shown a rejected
record means nothing, by making folly of it. They
mock themselves when accepting this type of result
as forward thinking, or intelligence.  The "any reason
to say no" philosophy has been proven an ignorant one
due to the execution by those promoting it.

This is why many good birders only submit photo records.
Many good birders don't submit to this lunacy at all.

Shame on the CBRC for calling their results scientific, binding, and
those that refuse to accept their unicorns, unsubstantiated.

Does rejecting records for Unicorns, occur where it is
not whatsoever tolerated, or where it is the culture?

Mitch Heindel

Boycott the CBRC

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

McKay's Unicorn
McKay's Unicorn (This page)

Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel 1997
Desert rats decide seabirds

Zone-tailed Hawk 1994
the CBRC tongue-twist

Scissor-tailgate review discussion
Discussion 4 1991-035 review overview

The CBRC has standards?
CBRC standards is an oxymoron

CBRC Review Comments
on the 6/7/89 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.

Scissor-tailgate Timeline
My Story

The CBRC & Me

Why is my brother my keeper?
CBRC scientific methodology is an oxymoron too