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CBRC ~ Discussion 6 ~

CBRC#1994-169, a Zone-tailed Hawk reported from
Harbor Park, in Los Angeles, California.
Western Birds 28:136, 1997  (Vol. 28, pg. 136, No. 3)

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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This is not about the rejection, but the all too regular
occurrence of false "facts" published in CBRC annual reports.
I suppose this could be a case of complete incompetence, but if
so the CBRC has no business writing about bird records.

But since slandering of records is not unheard of, it is not
necessarily an accident.  Since these are the people
proclaiming to be assurring accuracy in the official record,
it really doesn't matter if it is ignorance or incompetence.
If it was intentional, then there is a bigger problem.

No one cares if a record is rejected, as long as it is
done so honestly.  But the rejection, which includes the
published discussion in the annual CBRC report must be
beyond reproach when it comes to the truth.  If you read
all the CBRC annual reports you'll find the published words
to be chosen VERY carefully.  In fact a certain lexicon
becomes apparent whereby certain phrases mean things to
veteran annual report readers that are not apparent to newbies.

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There is a place in Los Angeles called Harbor Park, or since
the 1990's Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park.  There have been
many birds published from the site over the years in various
publications, including annual reports of the CBRC.

Harbor Park has produced birds like North America's first ever
wintering records of both Philadelphia Vireo and Mourning Warbler,
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Wood Thrush,
Red-throated Pipit, Broad-winged Hawk, Wood Stork, Little Gull,
Blue-footed Booby, and many others.  It is the single sq. half-mile
with the biggest bird list (340+ species) in L.A. City or County.
That is, it's the place with the most vagrant records.

It is impossible to tie them all to the site however
because from American Birds to the CBRC, the site has been
published as many different things, from near Long Beach to
near San Pedro, to Wilmington, to Los Angeles, and on and on.

It would seem to me that the CBRC since they say they are the
accuracy of the record ensurers, should pick a name for a place
and stick with it, so the sightings from that site can be placed
there. That would be the scientific way to handle it I think?
If you call it something different each time, how is the CBRC
assuring the accuracy of the record?  This lack of a basic 101
scientific method perhaps also contributed to what happened here.

That would be the generous explanation for this snafu,
they just don't know what they are doing, and don't do it
in a scientific enough manner to be accurate or correct
about something as simple as a very famous birding locale
that has been well-published on since the 1960's.

On the other hand, this appears very similar to the masterful
CBRC tongue-twist.  These are nut-shell word games
intended to mislead the reader to a false conclusion
about a bird report, usually for the purpose of selling a
rejection and justifying no votes.  They are as artfull as
they are unscientific.  Sometimes science-fiction seems
type of science that the CBRC practices best. 

Here the CBRC published a false psuedo-location.  REAL
science would have demanded the actual locale in the
report being used, Harbor Pk. (or KMHRP).  The CBRC published
non-informational ‘locale’ is: "reported from the Pacific
Coast Highway in Los Angeles."  This will get you GPS
points 25 miles apart, from Venice to the L.A. Harbor.
That is, from one foot from Santa Monica to one foot
from Long Beach and many places between, are "PCH in LA".

Is 25 miles the standard margin of CBRC error in locale?
Is that as close as they can get it?  Seabird records
in the middle of the ocean have had more precision for 40 years.
If it is the best they can do, they have no business publishing
locales for bird records.

Now for the tongue twisting nutshell word game part.
What does "from the PCH" mean to all the birders
that know darn well, there is NO such specific locale as
"from the Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles."
We've all read those words "from the PCH" in CBRC annual
reports before.  I have generally only seen them used
as lexicon for drive-by sightings.

If we sat the 200 most regular CBRC annual report readers in a
lie-detector electric chair where if you was lyin', you was dyin',
and asked them what does "from the PCH" mean in CBRC
speak, you would find it means a drive-by, or we'd have a big
pile of bodies.

The bird was not "reported from the PCH."  That is scat.
The record is not traceable to where it was within 25 miles,
ONLY because the CBRC ensuring the accuracy of the record
interpeted it for us, and avian history forever.

To the CBRC it doesn't matter because they rejected it.
However I believe the location and a rejection still deserve
accuracy and honesty.  This CBRC locale has neither. 
Clearly that was not their goal, or they are incompetent.
If they don't know the locales, scientific accuracy of the
record (what they say they are doing) dictates you ask first
before you publish.  Since that step was not taken,
we can only assume accuarcy of the record is not as important
to them as they sell it as being.

NO other record of many at Harbor Pk. was ever published
as "reported from the PCH in LA".  Why this one?
Why different from all the rest, and all before it CBRC?
Why would you publish a locale as something it has never
been called before when scientific accuracy is alleged?

Usually the "from the highway" references are drive-bys
unless a modifier like "a pond visible from..."is used.
Those are the rules of engagement the CBRC has used for
decades.  So using "reported FROM THE PCH..."
on a report from Harbor Pk., is leading the reader away from
the truth.  It obfuscates the facts, and slanders the record.

Nutshell games

It is not telling anyone where the bird was, but falsely appears
that way.  They made it sound like they covered location,
when everyone in the know, knows there is no such location,
and has been trained by the CBRC to understand those words
as a *condition of observation*, based on examples of
prior usage.  It looks like a CBRC tongue-twist to me.

CBRC rejections are rife with this type of tongue-twisting.
It is cheating the report, the record, the reader and the reporter.
It is immoral and unethical to completely botch a location
when you say you are assuring the accuracy of the record.
It was right when they got it, and wrong when it came out,
just like CBRC #1991-035, Scissor-tailgate.

There was no question this was not a drive-by. 
The report clearly stated, the bird flew over Harbor Pk.,
You can't drive to the east side of the lake. 
The observers were afoot in the park.

For the record CBRC, contrary to the falsehood you published,
the observers could NOT SEE the PCH from where they were.
I presume the CBRC read the report before they rejected it,
but perhaps I am wrong on that.

They made it sound like a drive-by, according to all
of the people that I asked, besides me.  No one was
was able to properly place the location.  Why does the
CBRC make it read as something they knew it was not?
Why did they obfuscate the truth?  Only the observer can
begin to detect these tongue-twists, and they are common
in rejections.

It wasn't a drive-by, and it wasn't reported from the PCH.
It is irresponsible, inexcusable, incompetent and unacceptable
bird record reporting.  It is lying, stealing and cheating
both the truth and the record.  It is the CBRC's work.

Typically what happens is if two No. California CBRC members
write the annual report (as here), two socal members review it,
and vice versa.  This I presume to make sure the details
as locations are correct.  I don't know if that happened here,
but if someone from socal approved that, they have no business in
the bird reporting business either.

The CBRC couldn't just reject it from Harbor Pk. where it was.
The bird was specifically reported from "the east side
of the lake in Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park", not
"from the Pacific Coast Highway."

Why did the CBRC not choose something honest to say such as it was
reported from Harbor Park (KMHRP), or the half square mile in L.A.
with the most vagrant records?  Because its sales, not science.

When the CBRC can not get the location right, and in fact
chooses mis-leading words for it, that are understood to mean
something else by most, how do you think things more complex,
like an identification fare?

Why must false "facts" be ADDED to a rejection?
Is it not possible to just reject WITHOUT creating false
information for the record that misleads the reader away from
the truth?  Is the part ensuring the accuracy of the
record so small, that the record can't pass through the
clubhouse without getting scat on it?

Does publishing false "info" that leads the readers
towards false ideas about a bird report, occur where it is
not whatsoever tolerated, or where it is the culture?

Mitch Heindel

Boycott the CBRC

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CBRC Unicorns
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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

CBRC standards of acceptance
The CBRC has standards? CBRC standards is an oxymoron

Why is my brother my keeper?
CBRC methodology CBRC science is an oxymoron

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

Scissor-tailgate Timeline
My Story

The CBRC & Me