“Downright Stunning” Rare Bird Photographed For The First Time, Then Killed In The Name of Science.

[DIGEST: Yahoo, Audubon, TheDoDo.Com, Huffington Post, Discovery, Slate, American Natural History Museum]

It’s not everyday that the actions of a field biologist cause public outrage.

But that’s exactly what happened to Christopher Filardi, a researcher with the American Museum of Natural History, when he killed a rare bird that had not been observed by scientists in nearly a century.

This rare bird is notoriously reclusive. It prefers a very specific and hidden habitat and is only active at dusk and dawn. Only a single female specimen had ever been observed in 1920. A male moustached kingfisher had never been studied and its habits were a mystery to scientists. The chances that anyone would ever succeed in observing and document the rare bird were slim.

Despite the odds, Filardi’s dream of observing the moustached kingfisher in the wild came true last month. While conducting field research in the Solomon Islands, he captured a live moustached kingfisher. He told Slate that it was like finding a unicorn.

Second Nexus

Christopher Filardi with the moustached kingfisher. Rob Moyle /American Museum of Natural History

In a blogpost written from the field, Filardi explained that his team’s encounter with the elusive bird required several days of work and close observation. In a remote area of Guadalcanal, his team first heard a unique birdsong, “ko-ko-ko-kokokokkokoko-kiew,” which could only come from a large forest kingfisher. When they heard the sound again, they suspected they had come upon the elusive moustached kingfisher.

Filardi’s team spotted the bird a few moments later. Filardi describes the magical moment:

To read more, continue to the next page.


  • Kirk Baldridge

    I’m sorry, what? The bird is exceedingly rare, with a small, perhaps already dwindling number of them thought to exist, and they decide killing one to study why they are so rare and dwindling is the best option? That makes no sense. By killing one they end the possibility of it contributing its genes to continue the species. You can’t make more of something by getting rid of it.

    • I know, right?! “Hey, here’s this super rare bird that’s only ever been observed once! Quick, kill it in the name of science!”

    • disqusdummy

      That’s government science for ya!

      • BeadlesAz

        What’s the government got to do with it?

      • Filardi works for a private institution.

    • Nicole Van Kooten

      As a student of science, I agree that it is necessary to collect a specimen for study (as describded in the article). However, it should only be done once it is known for sure that the population is not in danger of becoming extinct.
      In addition, I think it was wrong of the scientist to collect the bird as a specimen in this case as the status of the bird is disputed (as in the scientist claims there are 4000; but the bird is on a list for endangered species).
      Also, why didn’t they tag the bird to follow it and learn more that way? Mabye then they could have found where more of these birds are for further study. Now they’ll hve to find another bird to do that.

    • That’s not really true. The truth is that the loss of one male would not have prevented any females from mating. Ecologically speaking, males are expendable. Most bird species are seasonally monogamous with a fair bit of extra-pair copulation (birds get around), one male doesn’t mean a thing so far as contributing genes.

  • Enderwyn

    Researchers from International Union for Conservation of Nature estimate that the current population of the mustached kingfisher in the region it inhabits is about 250 to 1,000, which is classified to be “endangered”. However, the organization said that further research may reveal it to be more common. and if it gets that bad they can clone the bird all they need is one to do it although i think it was the united nations that said cloning wasn’t allowed as it was against animal rights and could be put to bad use

    • Chris Sanders

      “they can clone the bird”

      Please for the love the science read up on cloning. It doesn’t work – your age, for example is imprinted into your genetic code. It causes all sorts of problems.

      Go back to school and try again. Sorry.

      • al smith

        Sorry but they have been cloning dogs for yrs now. It does work. I’m not saying they should do it but just that it does work.

        The better choice would have been to study the bird in its natural habitat and evaluate its true numbers before blindly killing the only specimen we have found in yrs. We would have learned so much more by studying it alive then we will ever learn by studying it’s body. This person lacks common sense and morality and hides behind science, Shame on you

        • Enderwyn

          the hardest part about leaving it in its natural habitat is that it will hide again they would have to chip it to find it again they hadn’t found one in so long the guy decided it would be a smarter idea to kill it and study it rather than to have a huge manhunt for a little bird again. but chipping it would be the smarter idea but they may not have had one on hand.

        • 1) He did survey the area and estimate the population based on birds seen on a small transect and the whole of the extant habitat.

          2) This is a species that is incredibly secretive, lives in a very difficult part of the world to access, and has only infrequently been seen (though it’s heard semi-regularly). And your idea is to “track” it.

          You don’t know much about birds, do you?

      • The cloned individual sometimes has reduced lifespan due to issues with telomeres, yes… but they’re working on that problem. However, the cloned individual is perfectly capable of normal reproduction, and its offspring do NOT share those problems.

    • … no. you can’t just “clone” it. Even if you did, you’d need a rather large population to keep up genetic diversity. Given it’s elusiveness, considering it to be endangered seems a solid move. THEN, if you find out it’s more common than we thought… THEN you can consider to NOT be endangered.

    • IUCN’s estimate is based entirely on guesswork. At least Filardi went in there and attempted to do a survey.

      Cloning? Really? That’s is technology that does not work outside of science fiction novels.

  • Goring 19

    Sorry. I’m not buying his study argument
    Very tragic for this animal

    • Ok, great. Internet dude doesn’t buy arguments.

      Good thing actual research is not dependent on the opinions of random uninformed people on the internet.

      • Erma

        Ok, great. Internet guy who has to respond to every post with snarky, superior comments has schooled everyone on his random uniformed opinion. lol

        • My opinion is the same as the researcher here.

          My point is that he probably did the responsible thing.

          But if you want to assume that all of those who have never heard of a kingfisher and couldn’t find the Solomon Islands on a map are the ones who are justified in their opinions, knock yourself out.

          • Erma

            Okay, internet guy. Snark on, you superior thing, you. 😉

  • Anne Taenamyr

    Quoting J.R.R. Tolkien from The Fellowship Of The Rings – “He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”

    • Matthew J. Robison

      Every measure is a break. There is no immaculate science.

    • Pat Gordon

      Yes. Let’s quote Tolkien…

  • Robert Albrecht

    Small minded people, like PETA members, never understand the importance of researching a creature like this. Comparing this man of science to the idiot who killed Cecil the lion is asinine as well. How else do we learn from it without a specimen to study? How else do we figure out a way to make their population thrive again without knowing it’s traits? You cannot learn about one without having one to study.

    • Oscar Danielsson

      They could have brought it back alive? That should reasonably give more information since they then would have the possiblity of studying behaviour, airspeed, heartrate, cat-scan it… you name it! If genesamples where needed a feather and a blood-sample would give that.

      • Luca

        So its more ethical to take an obviously shy and reclusive bird and subject it to numerous tests in a research facility? You are fooled if you think a wild bird would have a happy life this way.
        Im sorry I dont like the fact that the bird is dead as much as the next person, but the bird is probably not much more useful as a live specimen. If they want to know the birds natural diet, I doubt they could get a sample from the birds gut without killing it. There are also other tests regarding the birds internal function that you cannot get from a live specimen. Heck the stress alone from testing could kill the bird.
        Lastly, even if they did capture it alive and run all of these tests, what do you think would happen next? The bird would die because they would need to ren the tests the couldnt run while it was a live. The bird would eventually die for science, it would just be delayed.

        • James Briggs

          Every hear of animal behavior. A dead animal has no behavior behavior. They can take DNA from a live bird easier then a dead one. They could operate and get a sample from the birds gut without killing it.They can do and autopsy with xrays and MRI. Anything they can do dead they can do alive. They can take the bird study it for up to a year and bring it back.

          • Nicole Van Kooten

            Doing that though is hard on the bird. Its more ethical to study organs and stomach contents qhen the bird is dead. Imagine if a scientist did that to you then sent you home with nothing. You wouldn’t feel too good.

          • snortgurgle

            Yeah, if I go to the hospital, and they can’t find out what they need to with blood samples, stomach contents, dna samples, ct scan, and x-ray, and they don’t kill me to julienne my brain, liver, and bone marrow for complete analysis, I might sue for malpractice! What’s harder on the bird, a traumatic experience or death? What would you prefer?

          • Please explain how you expect them to do an autopsy on an alive bird?

            What would they learn about wild animal behavior from a bird in a cage? A bird no one would even know how to keep alive in captivity. How would you haul an X-ray machine and an MRI to the highland forests of Guadalcanal, a place that takes several days for a lightly equipped research team to even access?

      • Now, that really WOULD be cruel.

        • Oscar Danielsson

          But would it give more information?

    • Chris Sanders

      Ah. Asinine. Love how that word gets batted around in all the wrong contexts like its some kinda buzzword.

      Its not ‘foolish’ to compare this to Cecil the Lion. He found a [potentially] endagered animal (its elusive and we have very little data about its population), killed it and then went public about his wonderful find. The comparisions are right there.

      You learn very little from a dead animal other than its Physiology and its genetic heritage. You’ll get nothing about its behavioral patterns, very little of its feeding habits (IF the creature had anything in its stomach) and absolutely nothing extra about its habitat.

      Interesting that he compared it to a Unicorn, since they’re supposedly Rhinos in reality. Then again – maybe he’d have killed that, too to study it 😉

      • Matthew J. Robison

        “other than its physiology and genetic heritage” — that’s not enough?

        • James Greyson

          You compared it to a unicorn. If you saw potentially the last unicorn, would you kill it to learn it’s physiology and genetic heritage? Or would it be more prudent to learn by observation?

          • Except that this was not the last moustached kingfisher.

          • Why not do both?

            Each strategy teaches you different things about the species.

      • ” other than its Physiology and its genetic heritage” — … really? Only that? *eyeroll*

    • Kelly Cox

      How’s that straw man battle going? I can’t stand PETA, I think they are insane–but this man had NO business killing this bird. The last one was observed in 1920, for pete’s sake!

      • Luca

        Which is exactly why it needed to be collected. We know nothing about this bird. I dont like the fact that the bird is dead, but there are a number of tests you just cant preform on a live specimen that are important to understanding the physiology and function of the animal.

        • Random non-partisan voter

          Sorry, but they could have tried to track it to find out more about its habitat and numbers instead of killing it. Killing it for study purposes it an idiotic argument when it’s obviously so exceedingly rare.

          • Keeping a field team in an isolated location for the weeks or months it would take to track this secretive bird would be prohibitive expensive. Research museums are not made of money.

          • Random non-partisan voter

            I’m just seeing excuses from someone who don’t really know what the situation is.

          • lokuul

            And I’m seeing whining from someone who doesn’t understand the true cost of study.

          • Random non-partisan voter

            And I’m seeing whining from someone who might not know their ass from a hole in the ground since they’re just some random internet forum poster.

          • I didn’t think you had any idea how these things work. Thanks for confirming.

            Hey, but you know who does know what the situation is? Filardi. So I imagine he must have taken all that into consideration.

          • Random non-partisan voter

            More of the same.

          • Please explain why your opinion is more valid in this matter than the guy with 20+ years of experience studying birds in the Solomon Islands.

            I’ve love to hear it.

          • Random non-partisan voter

            Please explain how yours is.

            I see him say how completely reasonable this is, then that they’ve NEVER… EVER… seen a male before.

            Photographs, DNA samples, recordings. The only reason to kill it in this day and age is to have one sitting on the shelf – a trophy.

          • I’m sorry, I’m not the one saying my opinion is more important than the researcher. I’m *defending* the researcher. I’m saying that we should defer to his probably much greater knowledge. To give him the benefit of the doubt.

            You’re the one saying that 20+ years studying birds in the region is worth less than the opinion of a random internet guy.

            Again, the bird is not known to *western scientists*. That doesn’t mean no one has ever seen a male. The indigenous people whose descendants live on the island used to eat them, for pete’s sake.

            If you want to know why people continue to collect specimens, and why it’s still incredibly important in a world where the environment is changing rapidly, read an essay called, “(Re)affirming the specimen gold standard” published by the University of Alaska museum.

            I’d include the link but it holds up my comment. You can google the title. In all honesty it’s really good and written for laypeople.

            That essay, and the lengthy list of publications at the end, should keep you busy for a while.

          • Random non-partisan voter

            So, effectively, your answer is that’s the way we do it because that’s the way it’s always been done.

          • No, that’s a tautology. And if that is the sum total of what you got from the essay I suggested, then it’s clear that you are either unwilling or incapable of engaging with the argument in an honest way. I hope for your sake it’s the former.

            To say you don’t like scientific collecting is one thing, that’s at least an understandable position. But to claim that there’s no useful information to be acquired, or that the researchers involved are trophy hunters, is just flat out wrong.

          • Random non-partisan voter

            Perhaps you can scientifically explain to me what you can learn from a dead male bird, of which you already have a female sample, that you cannot by:

            Holding it in captivity for a while to observe and…
            Taking pictures and videos.
            Taking non lethal samples.
            Taking high quality audio recordings.

          • If you’re really interested in learning about how specimens are used and why they’re important, I’d urge you to read to the references I mention a couple comments above. I’d include the link, but it holds the comment up for approval.

            I’ll be the first to admit that museums and researchers are not very good about explaining why and how they use whole organism specimens, but it really does open a lot of doors with regard to taxonomy, systematics, and physiology. Not to mention the value of having a voucher specimen to document the biodiversity of a region in a way that a photograph or a blood sample cannot.

            Just off the top of my head, though, we’ve learned a lot about feather structure (birds can see in the UV spectrum and feathers look different under UV light which can’t be seen in a photograph. Most of the research discovering this was done on birds in collections) and chemical load (the effect of DDT on birds was determined largely by measuring the chemical load in older specimens and comparing them to more recently collected ones). Plus, you can’t predict the kind of research that will occur in the future and what future scientists will need to conduct that research.

            Information gathered from non-lethal means can have a use, but it doesn’t tell you the whole picture. And when you’re strapped for time and you need data to justify protecting a place *now*, you take a specimen to figure those things out.

      • Kasey Barrier

        why do you think PETA is insane – very curious and please give real examples. thank you

        • Mega-Hee Mac N’ Chee

          Calm down Social Justice Warrior. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

          • Kasey Barrier

            Thanks for the compliment – btw opinions are fine when they are backed up with real facts – just sayin’ – just saying you hate something for no valid reason is kind of weird, that’s all

          • Random non-partisan voter

            It’s just your opinion there’s no valid reason, so you’ll need to provide some facts that there isn’t one.

      • As a researcher who is among the world’s experts in the birds of the Solomon Islands, he had every business collecting the bird. He’s probably the one person on the planet that can justifiably say that.

    • Kasey Barrier

      You have no clue what supporters of PETA do – I have stood in the freezing cold protesting animal research, rodeos, fur, etc. They helped at every turn, organizing, providing literature and so on. What have you done? By the way, you can test the DNA of a bird with a feather (I’m a member of Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology). This was just wrong

      • Stephen Williford

        Shut up Kasey. PETA is a trash organization who’s members all need to o to jail.

        • Kasey Barrier

          excellent – you just proved you know nothing about them – you can’t even defend your position without acting like a child and shouting “shut up” – typical

          • Stephen Williford

            Sorry, YEARS of research by me and fellow students makes it pretty hard to believe any pro-PETA lies.

          • Kasey Barrier

            Again, examples please – exactly what lies are you referring too. Why will no one answer me – it’s all vague stuff. I’ve worked with them for 30 years – please, I really want to know exactly what you are talking about

          • Stephen Williford

            The “lies” I’m referring to are statements that PETA is anything but the equivalent of Isis. As I suggested on another reply to you, you really should just look up the hundreds of stories about their criminal actions, then actually look into them. If you do, you’ll see a shockingly large amount of them are true. It’s always hard to pull an example off the spot, and asking people to do that is more often than not a stall tactic fro someone too stupid to actually look up any facts for themselves.

          • Stephen Williford

            You know what, it is the holiday season, let me give you the gift of actual knowledge. Over the last 3 years, over 90% of the animals PETA have taken in are dead. They actively promote the destruction of not only Pitt-bulls, but any dog that LOOKS like a pitt. They’ve bullied politicians into voting against several laws that would help wild animals, AND to top it off, if you look at the FBI’s government page, PETA is listed as a criminal organization.

          • Stephen Williford

            Oh, and the USDA has classified them as “domestic terrorists”.

      • PeTA doesn’t love animals. PeTA hates humans. PeTA’s views are so extreme they would see animals dead rather than see them living with humans, or utilized by humans in any way. PeTA is, quite frankly, evil. Their philosophy is dark as can be – that an end to suffering is the ultimate goal, and course, dead things cannot suffer.

        If this kingfisher had broken its wing, PeTA would have killed it, since it couldn’t be released. At least this scientist killed for a reason.

        • Kasey Barrier

          Where do you get this ridiculous stuff, “they hate animals and want them dead”. Not wanting animals to suffer in rodeos, labs, factory farms – how is this hating animals. Sorry, but it seems to me you are the one who made up this ridiculous idea that an animal’s suffering will only end if it’s dead. Do realize how dumb that sounds. The only reason I’m responding to this is because I can’t believe how ignorant you all are – 30 years of dealing with PETA and I can assure you the stories are just that, stories.

          • Stephen Williford

            The USDA and FBI disagree with you Kasey.

          • Kasey Barrier

            guess why the USDA did that – because PETA has been on their asses for decades for not enforcing rules for lab animals, factory farmed animals etc.. And you know what, if their undercover activities saved one animal suffering in a lab (which they have in great numbers) then hooray for them. I don’t think any of you have a clue about animal welfare or have the depth of compassion we have when it comes to saving animals from suffering. You just don’t get it – stand outside and protest for animals, write letters for animals, organize protests against animal cruelty in your community (I stopped a rodeo from coming to my hometown -not much, but at least I did something and PETA helped me do it) – what the fuck have any of you done, but spew hate about something you know nothing about (oh that’s right – you read it on the internet)

          • Stephen Williford

            I take back my former opinion of you Kasey, you are a pathetic person. I’m sorry the truth has ruffled your feathers so thoroughly. PETA is an evil organization, and that is just a fact, and there is really no real reason to continue to have a discussion with someone as brainwashed as you. Have a good day supporting a group that hates humans and kills animals.

          • And the arrest records, I guess those are stories, too? lol… PeTA is no friend to animals, and their philosophy is unnatural and evil. I despise them for killing adoptable pets without need, I despise them for taking away peoples’ pets without cause, I despise them for their continuous lies and political machinations, and I despise them for their desire to separate humanity from all other life. Those lies are on their website for all to see, but the majority of people simply don’t have the willingness or the time to find the facts to counter it all. But PeTA doesn’t care about facts – whatever it takes to further their agenda of removing animals from the care of humans, that’s what they will do. They want to remove our pets, our meat, and our service animals, and they will harm animals, lie, cheat, and steal to do it.

            There is absolutely no justification for the things they do.

        • Kasey Barrier

          In addition, PETA is not a wildlife rehabilitator and would refer the injured bird to a rehabber because it is illegal in the US to take in or interact with a wild bird unless you are licensed by the state. Believe it or not, a rehabber will often put down an injured animal if it cannot be released back to the wild (or it will be used for educational purposes- I know this because I worked at a wildlife center. Educate yourself – you are truly clueless about. What did PETA do to you that you have such bizarre hatred of them – I just don’t get you people – What have you done to end animal suffering!

    • shaktip

      There is always more to be learned from a living being than a dead one. My latest thought (before leaving this sad discussion) is that the scientist who decided to kill this bird was not only numb but selfish; my assumption is that he wanted to be credited with as many types of “knowledge” about this endangered bird as possible. To coldly kill in the name of knowledge is one of the most barbaric impulses of our species.

      • Not more to be learned. Different things to be learned. Equally important things.

        • shaktip

          I’m not sure that we can reconcile what seems like a fundamental philosophical/ethical difference in our approaches to ecology.

          • Fair enough. My point is that the guy with the experience studying birds in the Solomon Islands with the long track record of success in conservation should probably be given the benefit of the doubt, though.

            Calling him barbaric and selfish is inappropriate.

          • shaktip

            To be clear, I called the practice barbaric. Our species can be barbaric, whether in a hot-blooded or calculated manner. Some people claim that it’s because we descended from chimpanzees rather than more peaceful primates (and as a result do not think that world peace is a viable possibility). I don’t know whether I agree, but I do see this impulse, whether condoned by a culture/field or not, as problematic and inhumane.

            As for the benefit of doubt regarding selfishness…there are few prominent members of any field in the world who are not driven by selfishness. I would believe that someone like Jane Goodall may lack selfish motives. Actually, she’s a good example of someone with an approach to scientific study that isn’t divorced from ethics. Since empathic approaches to ecological study (or any kind of scientific study) are possible, I’m primarily interested in how scientists may dismantle and redefine the old-school mindset.

          • With respect to Jane Goodall, her work on chimp behavior was as informed by specimens (albeit, those collected decades ago), as much as any working biologist.

            Behavior and physiology are the yin and yang of wildlife biology. They work together. I don’t expect everyone to like collecting – I’d be lying if I said even I thought it was appropriate all the time – but it is important.

            I’ve had the good fortune to do some work in a bird research collection. I got to work with the grad students, artists, and researchers who used it. I wish other people had that opportunity so they could at least understand why it’s done and how the specimens are used to do important work.

          • shaktip

            I think that what is happening here (and it will always happen badly online but perhaps more meaningfully elsewhere) is that people are asking that biologists’ assumptions of what is necessary in the field be checked and reconsidered and possibly even be seen as relative to a given situation. Every field has its own variety of indoctrination, and biologists are schooled from an early age (high school classes) to think of dissection as integral to the discipline.
            What I was trying to point out about JG is that she was a researcher who did not divorce her empathy from her practice. Academia frequently equates affect with a lack of intellectual rigor, and as a result, many people in the world are more intellectually than emotionally developed. I am not making assumptions about the biologist being written about here but speaking generally.
            So…when people balk at the insistence that a rarely seen, endangered bird be regarded as a “specimen” first, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
            I don’t entirely know where online discussions like these will lead us, though.

  • Shay

    Don’t quote PETA in any animals article. It’s a bad move as they kill more animals than they help.

    • Spawn_of_Santa

      It doesn’t make them WRONG in this case… this was fakking stupid.

      • Deanna Szuter

        Off topic. Just type “fuck” if you are going to use the word. When you say “fudge”, “Fakking”, “farking,” or anything else that is suppose to be “fuck”, and isn’t.. you are taking the responsibility of the word off yourself, forcing it on someone else, and demonstrating that you have no spine. NO ONE hears “Fakking” and think it’s anything else but “fuck”. You, and everyone else who does this needs to man up and own your words. If you can’t own them, don’t use them.

        • Tsarius

          I work around children and defend my right to alter curse words when necessary. “Fak” is silly, “fark” sounds just as ridiculous, but “fudge” is an actual word and a fairly good replacement.

          • Deanna Szuter

            They are WORDS. You aren’t protecting children from anything. Get over that. Words do nothing. Why are you so afraid of words.

          • Tsarius

            Because words have meaning behind them.

          • Deanna Szuter

            Explain how you protect a child from a meaning then? Please. And exactly why are you protecting a child from a meaning? How is the meaning of a word frightening to you?

        • Spawn_of_Santa

          Also, when you use vulgarities on websites like this the FAKKING moderators get involved and half the time dont’ allow the post.

          “Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Second Nexus.”

          So again, FAK OFF.

          • Deanna Szuter

            Yes, I see I’m having a horrible time with the moderators. As a matter of fact, I’d say they don’t give a fuck. So again… you sound like you have a small euro penis.

          • Spawn_of_Santa

            And you’re still a smelly cunt.

        • Spawn_of_Santa

          Of course, my original post was dumped by the FAKKING moderators.——-

          Except of course FAK is an curse word in the Northern UK (Sometimes pronounced FEK)

          So, f*ck off you americentric cow.

          • Deanna Szuter

            Oh really. Then tell me, what does Fak mean? Because unless it means something other than fuck, it’s indeed, exactly what I’m talking about. Fak, fark, fudge, fook, faque… it all means Fuck, so just say it. And you sound like you have a small penis, so there’s that.

    • Kasey Barrier

      you are so wrong on so many levels – stop reading phony articles that are years old accusing PETA of killing animals – none of which have been proven or that they have been prosecuted for. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. They have done more to save animals tortured for research, killed for their fur and so much more. Think for yourself.

      • Stephen Williford

        I’ve done lots of research Kasey. PETA is nothing but a wannabe terrorist organization. They don’t give a shit about animals, they’re just angry people looking for a cause.

        • Kasey Barrier

          I’m sorry, but you are just plain wrong. I’ve been working with them for thirty years – if it weren’t for their work in cosmetic tesing on animals alone, no one would even know – they have educated more people about animal cruelty then any other. They are not angry people – they have compassion. You are the one who sounds angry about something. Please, I’d be interested in the research and facts you uncovered. Why is it, no one ever gives details – just “what they believe”

          • Stephen Williford

            There’s really no point arguing with you. If the sect that you’re working with is good, good for you, you found the exception. As a rule, they’re one of the most evil groups out there. However, I’m not going to fact check every thing I’ve ever read or seen to argue with an ignorant person over the internet.

          • Kasey Barrier

            I’ve seen those stories on the “internet” – they’ve been floated for years – Why were they never prosecuted for any of these horrid things they did. Do you really think they could get away with the stuff you are “googling”. They are not evil – once again, if it wasn’t for them exposing factory farming, fur farms and lab cruelty you wouldn’t know about about these atrocities which they have been exposing for over 40 years. Why is that “evil”. Hundreds of “stories” is a bit exaggerated, sorry. I’d have more respect for you if you told me about what you have done for animals rather putting down a group because “you saw it on the internet”!!!

          • Stephen Williford

            I actually posted this already on another response, but maybe you didn’t see it. So here you go, copy and pasted: You know what, it is the holiday season, let me give you the gift of actual knowledge. Over the last 3 years, over 90% of the animals PETA have taken in are dead. They actively promote the destruction of not only Pitt-bulls, but any dog that LOOKS like a pitt. They’ve bullied politicians into voting against several laws that would help wild animals, AND to top it off, if you look at the FBI’s government page, PETA is listed as a criminal organization.

            And the USDA has labelled PETA as “domestic terrorists”.

          • William A. McDonald

            That’s because some states passed laws against filming on farms and in meat packing factories. PETA did it anyway, hell I would do it, but it’s a fucking felony now. That’s why they are labeled that. It’s stupid and is an example of Republicans changing the law to favor business over human, animal and food safety.

          • Christopher Jack Martin

            1. Mortality Rate: There are more pets than willing owners, it’s a shame but there’s many factors to blame for it, it’s just not financially viable to keep, feed, exercise, socialize & train the pure quantity they take in to an ethical standard.

            2. Pit Bulls: That’s just plain untrue, some members may have their own personal agendas based on their own negative experiences with the breeds but as a whole PETA does not despise any single dog breed, just the people that paint the ugly pictures of them.

            3: Politicians: Ultimately make up their own decisions, America is a republic, not a Democracy & there’s two sides to every story. Just because PETA refuses one approach it doesn’t mean they’re not denying the problem, if you watched & listened you’d realize they’re actually advocating more humane approaches. Of course as to whether they would be successful that SHOULD be the debate but politics tends to be more Black & White than it should, the very reason it’s split by Left & Right with little room in between.

            4: FBI: They’re a political tool, running the states & their own agendas, not the publics. Google “Operation Northwoods”, I’d be more worried about these state sponsored terrorists than a bunch of compassionate fluffy bunny lovers.

          • Stephen Williford

            Do official news stories, government documents, and public records scare and confuse you Kasey? I looked at your FB page a bit, you don’t seem like a bad person at all, as I said, if the PETA members that you’ve been exposed to are good, good for you. However, PETA as a whole is a terrible organization. My family actually fosters animals, and have rescued several injured wild animals and reintroduced them to the wild, but the biggest thing I do to prevent animal cruelty is try to point out the evils of PETA to anyone who will listen.

          • Allison Wanamaker

            The same reason that Monsanto has never been prosecuted for agent orange, or ddt, or round up. The government itself is corrupt.

          • Bobby Healey

            Maybe if they shut down their crematoriums, I’d be inclined to agree. But if an animal welfare organization requires crematoriums, means they exterminate mass amounts of pets.

          • Erma

            Do you know how impounded animals in the majority of counties in the United States are put down? PETA takes animals from facilities that don’t have the funding to euthanize humanely and then does just that. Is it awful? Yup. Until we start enforcing mandatory spay-neuter laws and addressing the pet overpopulation problem it’s also unfortunately necessary. I’d rather see a pet put to sleep humanely that stacked in a room with 20 others and gassed or suffocated. THAT’s why they have crematoriums.

          • Robert Eckert

            “Do you really think they could get away with the stuff” Cultish groups get away with an amazing amount of stuff for a very long time, often.

          • Stephen Williford

            Sorry, meant “source check” I do fact check. However, I would like you to take up a project, just google, “PETA criminal actions” then actually look up the hundreds of stories you see. I think you’ll be pretty appalled at how many are true.

      • Because it’s not illegal to euthanize abandoned or surrendered animals, and ‘criminal intent’ could not be proven. Not because they didn’t do it, or weren’t arrested for it.

        • Kasey Barrier

          It is illegal if you are not certified – in addition, if any idiot dropped off an animal to PETA offices, when they say they are not a shelter, it’s not PETA’s fault. Well, there you go, no criminal intent was proven, ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The stories are bogus, don’t you get it

          • Stephen Williford

            I’m sorry that people drop animals off at an organization that supposedly cares for the lives of animals, then are shocked when they kill them. Is it really that hard to take said animals to a shelter rather than just go “nope, they don’t go here, time to kill’em!”?

          • William A. McDonald

            Want to know what a no kill shelter does when it runs out of room? Ships the animal to a kill shelter. I know this for a fact.

          • Stephen Williford

            Yes, however, all of PETA’s shelters have a mortality rate of kill shelters.

          • William A. McDonald

            Honestly the difference between a kill and a none kill is that a kill shelter takes anyone and they have a timer, based on volume and when the timer is up and the pet not adopted it’s killed. Non-kill will only accept perfect pets, injured, hissy, scratches even once, nervous cats and dogs are immediately deported to kill shelters and circumvent the waiting period (meaning they will be executed within days of arrival). The reality is a non-kill shelter is a holding cell that is an extension of a kill shelter. If you’ve given them a decent animal that is well behaved than you’ve extended it’s chance of adoption by about a month to three months depending on volume. The sad fact is not enough people adopt pets from shelters and dick holes will go out and adopt a pure breed for a status symbol or dickettes will ditch their cat because it doesn’t match her new couch cushions. There are some really terrible people out there. There was one group of rogue Peta people in a van that killed animals unnecessarily, and it was later condemned (once Peta figured out what was going on) as for their shelters killing animals, it’s generally from massive neglect. You take the same animal to a non-kill shelter it would be immediately moved to a kill shelter, do not go past go do not collect your 8th life. Peta does come across as brash, does painful un-relate able things and spends it’s time preaching to it’s own choir, mainly because they have inadvertently isolated themselves so well from “normal” society, that they think they are doing cool hip things, when really they are performing in an echo chamber. It makes them an easy target of people to just discredit everything they say and do, even when they are right. That’s the sad state of affairs.

          • Random non-partisan voter

            PETA is a high kill shelter. Their record doesn’t match their desired public image. As I said in another discussion, you can try and justify it, but you really can’t argue it.

          • David Shaw Jr

            If PETA isn’t a shelter, then why would they accept an animal someone is giving up?

          • Kasey Barrier

            this is my last post regarding the misinformation regarding PETA – they do not run animal shelters – they DO physically go out and rescue severely abused and abandoned animals and have Vets on staff to deal with the horrendous injuries inflicted on them. Once again, they do not run animal shelters – feel free to contact them and they will explain exactly what they do. It amazes me that people still believe they run shelters where people can take the animals they are tired or bored with. If their euthanasia numbers are high, it’s because the animals they do take in are injured and abused beyond belief. Please everyone, think for yourself, investigate for yourself – I’ve worked with them for over 30 years -THEY DO NOT RUN ANIMAL SHELTERS.

          • David Shaw Jr

            Did I claim that PETA is a shelter?

          • Kasey Barrier

            omg – Did you read my post? I’m not accusing you of anything – you asked a question and I answered

      • Christopher Jack Martin

        I agree with PETA on some grounds, mostly backyard breeders, but somehow you always manage to ruffle the average persons feathers, granted politicians & political agencies deserve much of the blame for it with their deceit/bureaucracy, it’s the more extreme members that seemingly represent your group.

        I think overall your stance needs to change from anti-conformism to more political, get the progressive politicians on your side & better direct your style of messaging to conservatives.

    • Crimson Hikari

      PETA made a parody of Pokemon because it was apparently promoting animal cruelty. I cannot take them seriously.

      • Jackie Goodman

        They also made a parody of meat boy because a boy made out of meat was sending a bad image and people shouldn’t play it. They completely disreguarded the fact that he wasnt made of meat but was a boy without skin lol

        • Crimson Hikari

          Oh god, that is pure comedy GOLD.

    • Bobby Healey

      Damn straight. The only thing PETA gives a shit about is if you’re a vegan. Ingrid Newkirk thinks an animal is better off dead than living in an shelter awaiting a forever home.

    • Dead_New_World

      Indeed. Watch out now though, Militant animal rights nutjobs will probably add you to some kind of list simply for stating the obvious.

  • Kim Hollowell

    Sounds to me more like he wanted a trophy for his cabinet, well I sure hope karma comes and bites him in the arse!

    • Do yourself a favor and look into Filardi’s extensive body of work and then come back and claim that he was hunting for a trophy.

  • Richard Lake

    Here’s the deal. If euthanizing a single member of a species leads to extinction, the species is most likely doomed anyway. The scientist could not bring back a live specimen to study because he didn’t know nearly enough about the bird to have an accurate habitat in which to observe behavioral patterns.

    By bringing back a deceased specimen, he is now able to begin to analyze the bird. Scientists can work to determine other birds with similar evolutionary features and possibly predict the habitat and behavior a bit better. They will also be able to analyze traits common to the bird and work to determine what foods it might eat.

    All of this will allow us to get a better understanding of the creature as a whole. Then, if it is desired to work with a live specimen, it will be easier to predict their lifestyle, to create a habitat that is better for the bird to live in while being studied.

    • Sherry Lynn-Theresa Sharp

      Nobody really puts any thought into why a scientist might do this all they think about is “OMG HE KILLED A BIRDY!”

    • Random non-partisan voter

      What kind of argument is that for killing a rare animal? That’s one of
      the more idiotic statements I’ve seen on a topic like this. If killing a
      single member of a species LEADS to its extinction, then that killing
      DID lead to its extinction without question. Justify it if you like,
      but don’t try to nonchalantly explain it away.

    • shaktip

      If killing a single member of en endangered species leads to extinction, the action goes from merely unethical to inexcusable. Many seasoned ecologists are disparaging of the decision.

      • Yes, then it’s a good thing that killing this individual will *not* lead to the extinction of this species, then. Right?

        But what might lead to the extinction of this species is the failure to protect this part of the Solomon Islands from logging and mining interests in the region. So it’s important to get *all* the information we can about what these species need so that we know what they need to survive and adequately protect those things.

        • shaktip

          I think that this is a case where “rational” vs. “feelings-based” decision making could be better reconciled as both are necessary in order to foster “humane” actions. A purely scientific mindset often favors an analytical approach that is divorced from ethics; such an approach is inflexible and prevents the exploration of approaches to ecological study that would not require killing. It promotes a relationship to nature that is focused on stripping down/naming/classifying–and in this way is not particularly different than the attitudes of those who run the logging and mining operations. Shifting the destructive ecological practices of our species requires a thorough rethinking of dominant/domineering cultural attitudes towards the natural world.

          • You may be misunderstanding my point. I’m arguing that the act of this researcher is appropriate and even beneficial to the well-being of the species as a whole and the place where it lives. I’m arguing that what he did is entirely within the accepted suite of activities for a biologist like him in a situation like that.

            I’m not claiming that an entirely rational decision-making process is required, or even that it’s best. I would say that those “feeling-based” decisions are most effective when they are backed by strong data-based justification. The collection of this bird is part of a strategy that involves the buy-in of the gov’t of the Solomons, the indigenous people on the island, and the international conservation community. There’s a story to be told about the place and the bird species that is grounded in emotion, but it needs the hard data behind it, too.

  • Alex Mai

    I don’t condone the practice of euthanizing specimen en mass, but to claim “compassion, awe, and a camera” are all that are needed to study a species is just plain ignorant or fantastical exaggeration. What kind of camera is O’Brien referring to that can study skeletal structure, bone density, organ function, etc.? Without citing outside knowledge or examining the inside of an organism, tell me how many stomachs a cow has, describe the organ layout of a starfish, and model the ribcage of this bird species. Can’t? O’Brien seems to recommend using more compassion and awe with your camera.

    Sooner or later, some scientific information can realistically only come from a dead, in-tact specimen. It can either be collected now, or you can cross fingers that the population size is on the rise without intervention. However, if the population is already on the decline, scientists need research and data soon, and I’d rather one be collected while there are hundreds out there, rather than one when there are only a dozen left.

    • shaktip

      I’m going to repeat here because it seems applicable–a purely scientific mindset favors an analytical approach that is divorced from ethics. It promotes a relationship to nature that is focused on stripping down/naming/classifying–and in this way is not particularly different than the attitudes of those who run the logging and mining operations that threaten the islands. Shifting the destructive ecological practices of our species requires a thorough rethinking of dominant/domineering cultural attitudes towards the natural world. The notion that something is better of dead than alive so that human beings have more information about it stored away in a library, whether the species survives or not…if this attitude prevails, then our fragile ecosystems are doomed.

  • Luca

    Great, Second Nexus is now screening comments and only clearing ones that suit their agenda! Way to go censorship! This one cleared just fine, however any that i have concerning the opinion that this animal was killed for a reasonable cause are still pending.

  • Chantel Cummings

    That’s rich, coming from PETA.

  • sam

    It’s wrong to say they “did something that shocked ecologists…” Some scientists, like the guy quoted object to collecting but the vast majority of biologists understand that 1) scientific collecting is extremely valuable and 2) collecting one specimen does not cause the extinction of a population. Sure, object to the death of an animal but if you know nothing else about museum collections then don’t spout off about whether or not it’s “worth it.”

    • Yeah, it shocked one biologist. And Bekoff is a bit of a joke in the field.

  • Random non-partisan voter

    Uh, if it has been caught wouldn’t putting a tracker on it (if possible) or trying to follow it to observe it’s habitat and find more of it’s kind have been the FAR more productive and responsible thing to do?

    • How much is that going to cost? Who is going to fund it? You?

      How do you know if the bird is going to respond to “a tracker”? What if it kills it? Then you’ve killed the bird, lost the specimen, and lost a valuable piece of technology.

      What kind of tracker? A real-time GPS tracker requires a pretty big battery and wouldn’t work for a species as small as this one, but a geolocator would require the bird to be captured *twice*, once to install the device and a second time to remove it to get the information on it. Since this species has only ever been captured once, and that was sort of random, that would not seem to be a likely option either.

      So, tell me, random guy, what, with your clearly vast experience with highland birds of the Solomon Islands, would you suggest?

  • DAV

    The truly sickening part here is that the so called “scientist” referred to killing a rare bird as “Collecting” He doesn’t even view his action as “killing”. He is so divorced from the concept that he destroyed an innocent creature that he cannot even admit that he killed. He is exactly what is wrong with “scientists” particularly “biologists” who destroy living creatures so they can “study” them. Destroying a beautiful creature for no reason other than selfishness is sickening. He described the experience as being like “finding a unicorn” he is sick. He is also a liar – either the bird is rare, and having been observed only once it seems likely, so killing it is completely unacceptable because of its rarity; or the bird is not rare, meaning he lied about it being rare. He says it is so rare that it has never been studied and only observed once, then says that it isn’t rare at all. Which is it?

  • Leandro Tami

    I guess he saw that poor animal as a mine of research papers, nothing more

  • shaktip

    My first response: Barbaric. My second response: current scientific practices have numbed many people who wield power, quite possibly rendering their field inherently unethical.

    • I would urge you to learn more about this “unethical” researcher, and see the long, productive track record he has in conserving wild places in this part of the world few people know or care about.

      But clearly it’s all about the power for him…

      • shaktip

        Those were my immediate, felt responses. They’re healthy and indicative of my sensitivity towards this topic. I’ll repeat my response to your blurb above: A purely scientific mindset often favors an analytical approach that is divorced from ethics. It promotes a relationship to nature that is focused on stripping down/naming/classifying–and in this way is not particularly different than the attitudes of those who run the logging and mining operations that threaten the islands. Shifting the destructive ecological practices of our species requires a thorough rethinking of dominant/domineering cultural attitudes towards the natural world.

        • I will grant you that your immediate response to this is justified.

          Calling the researcher unethical, and equating his single act with the motives of the industries that would see this part of the world degraded is completely wrong, however.

  • Patrick O’Brien

    Stupid prick.

  • Chase Derrer

    Yeah, he killed a bird…for the sake of researching the bloody thing. It was the most balanced option in the case, between humane, scientific, and economic pulls.

    He could have taken it alive, kept it in captivity, and more or less ruined the thing while studying it, or he could have humanely killed it after contemplation and counsel, and study the leftover material to learn more about the bird.

    He is not a doctor, he has not taken a Hippocratic Oath. He is a scientist, and one that researches the world around us. If it must be done for science, then it must be done.

  • Katt Möw

    It is counterintuitive to kill one to save many. The decision obviously was made to generate results in male sexual anatomy. However, things die where they live; this was probably not the only chance they would ever get. This was a decision to get results as quickly as possible.
    Sole I’m aware that biologists examine specimens all of the time, and we’re not at a time where we should kill for research.

    • Yes, things “die where they live”. How many dead Mustached Kingfishers do you think a research team could be expected to randomly find in this dense highland forest?

      I’m curious. I think it would reveal a lot about your credibility on this issue.

  • spirouack

    A: Any article that quotes PETA as an expert witness loses ALL credibility.
    B: Harvesting a single specimen can spur knowledge that eventually saves a species
    C: Most biologists are pretty tired of the idiot public crying about things they will never understand. It is whiny, feel-good, ignorant people like the ones who are all bent out of shape by this who truly impede conservation.

  • Chicken McPhee

    How can these scientist ever discover anything when they have absolutely no regard for the sanctity of life? What’s so fucking important that they had to kill such beautiful fauna?

  • Spawn_of_Santa

    Look I get it, you were left alone in the gypsy wagon while your mother was turning tricks behind the elephant cage at the traveling circus. But that doesn’t make you the worthless piece of human trash that you are, that’s innate, you were born with it. It’s nothing that was done to you.

    now FAK off.

    • Deanna Szuter

      Look keyboard warrior. Your little diatribe is not impressive, nor offensive. You can make up your little fantasies of what might piss me off… but regardless, you still have a small penis, and for that… I will smile all day. You go… keyboard warrior… you go.

  • Deanna Szuter

    Which is why I’ll never be hung up on you… oh.. you, hung… LOLOL not really huh? You aren’t hung at all.

    • Spawn_of_Santa

      Don’t worry, Deanna, I wouldn’t HIRE someone to fuck you.

      You’re too big a smelly cunt.

  • David Shaw Jr

    Killing it was wrong. How do they know that it wasn’t last male of the species?

“Downright Stunning” Rare Bird Photographed For The First Time, Then Killed In The Name of Science.

by Keola Whittaker time to read: 4 min
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