Sunday, July 18, 2010

What is this bird?

This is more of a pet peeve post than a real ID question. This is a McCown's Longspur. Not a McCowan's Longspur.
For some reason the "McCowan's" spelling has shown up in a number of different places recently and it is driving me nuts. The worst was in a special advertisement section for birding in Montana printed in a recent Audubon Magazine.
Great way to draw birders to Montana - they don't even know how to spell the birds name correctly - do they know anything about what is written in the article?
At least it isn't as embarrassing as a recent bird trail publication produced by the Custer Country travel region in Montana. Despite a number of people commenting on the plethora of errors in the publication, ranging from misspelled bird names and other bird name mistakes - you can find a "Roufous-sided and Spotted towhee" at numerous places (they are different names for the same bird). At Mikoshika State Park you can apparently find Lappet-faced Vulture from Africa based on the photo used for this site. It is supposed to depict a Turkey Vulture! See it for yourself here (even better - rather than fix the mistakes that were pointed out to them numerous times, they reproduced in online for everyone to see).
Travel Montana really doesn't have to do much help bird related tourism in Montana. The birds found here could sell this place almost by themselves, but for some reason the tourism people have not only not consulted with the people most interested in helping them, but they have outright ignored the expertise in this state, resulting in a number of rather embarrassing errors. If I was using this information for some other state it would suggest to me that the people really had no idea what they were talking about and I would question the validity of all the information provided.
It's not that I am driven to turn the birds and habitats I care about into a tourist destination, its just that I hope that these habitats and birds that inhabit them can be thought of as more than wastelands only worth grazing and hunting. If we could demonstrate some income from other uses perhaps thoughts and concerns of conservation would follow. I really believe that communities (or at least the right people in a community) need to have an interest in conservation or it will not work or will continue to be a source continued conflict. Perhaps the values provided by birding related income is a way to help that along.
Well, this certainly wandered away from a spelling pet peeve!

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