Resembled a budgie that had inhaled a lumberjack’s breakfast
October 12, 2018 3:43 PM   Subscribe

This is not for the first time that the Night Parrot has been involved in controversy. On 17 October 1990, Walter Bowls was in the outback on an Australian Museum field trip when he got out of a car, happened to look down and see a dead night parrot.

Many people believed it was a set up. However, I've spoken to Walter personally about this, and he swore that although it seemed too far fetched to be real, it actually happened.
posted by greenhornet at 3:56 PM on October 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

"The night parrot is one of just two fully nocturnal bird species in the world. The other is New Zealand’s kakapo, famous for being the world’s heaviest parrot and for being particularly enamoured with zoologist Mark Carwardine."

OMFG I am now extinct from laffs (YTL contains S. Fry, but the humor is independent of the comedian. NSFW, rough in-gender transspecies sex).
posted by mwhybark at 4:16 PM on October 12, 2018 [8 favorites]

If the kakapo is fully nocturnal, wotsit doin strollin abaht in the daylight then? /Baldrick
posted by mwhybark at 4:18 PM on October 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Reading about the 1990 incident... I'm not sure why people would think it was staged? They had the body of a vehicle-killed night parrot, which they found by the side of a road as you would expect to find it. Was the theory that someone else had found the body by the side of a road, sent it in, and then the discovery was restaged? Which seems like it would risk complaint by the actual discoverer, and for a not particularly more interesting outcome of "a squashed bird was found here rather than there".
posted by tavella at 4:35 PM on October 12, 2018

tavella: The theory, unkind as it was, was that they took an old sample from the collection out into the field, and then "discovered" the new one. At the time, there was a financial reward for the discovery, or so I vaguely remember.

I remember Walter being teased about it at the time. (He was very laid back and took it in his stride).

The theory also would not have held up well, as all specimens are numbered and logged. Especially type specimens.
posted by greenhornet at 4:56 PM on October 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

He's on a diet now you know
From eating far too much
They say if he gets fatter
He'll have to wear a crutch
It would be funny wouldn't it
A budgie on a stick
Imagine all the people
Laughing till they're sick
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:56 PM on October 12, 2018 [5 favorites]

tl;dr: when photographing an extremely endangered species, try to compose the shot so that you can't see the illegal trap you used to catch it and stage the photo.
posted by ryanrs at 11:47 PM on October 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

Whoa, Underpants Monster. Decades vanished when I read that. Thanks.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:56 AM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Trigger warning: Tray of dead birds.
posted by Splunge at 8:42 AM on October 13, 2018

This is no longer (maybe) an ex-parrot.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:01 PM on October 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Here is an excellent summary of the whole controversy from an Australian birding blog: What The Hell Is Actually Going On With The Night Parrot
posted by scottjlowe at 4:43 PM on October 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh hell yes, Underpants Monster, what kinnakeet said.

And I'm only thirty-two 😉
posted by Pinback at 4:41 PM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

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