Friday, March 03, 2006

Another "fraudulent" rare bird photo?

First we had Mr. Guppy with his very odd IBWO photo, a photo that is either the best photo of an Ivory-billed taken in the last 60 years, or an outright fake.

Then, Mike McDowell did some detective and discovered that the last (only?) color photo ever taken of an Eskimo Curlew may not be what it seems.

Now, eagle-eyed BINACer Mike Miller sent me a like to yet another "controversial" rare bird photo: this time the subject is a Barn Owl that was allegedly photographed in Ontario. The photo was taken by a photographer who had previously taken a stunning photo of a Harris' Hawk in Quebec; needless to say, there aren't very many wild Harris' Hawks in Quebec, further adding to the suspicion.

Check out the discussion here:

And the photo that caused the controversy is here: Note the bare legs, and then look at one of the photos Mike also provided to me of captive Barn Owls, including here; the part of the leg where the "jess" would be corresponds to the part of the leg that is bare on the Ontario Barn Owl.

OK, since the link no longer works, here is the original "fraudulent" photo:

I'm not really sold either way; if anyone can find a link to further discussion about this bird, please send it to me.

Who knew birding could have so many shady characters???


Anonymous said...

Well, IMHO, I don't think the Barn Owl nor the Harris's Hawk are wild birds. Apparently a group of people searched the entire area and didn't find the owl, nor any post resembling the one in the photo.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The Barn Owl photo looks like it's been modified, and the apparent lack of any similar fence post in the area is pretty convincing evidence that the photo is questionable.

Birding is NOT a crime!!!! said...

I just can't, for the life of me, undestand why someone would do this...especially someone who appears to be, apart from these two instances, a very good bird photographer.

An honest mistake is one thing, but this appears to be an outright fraud. I suppose I could understand why someone would fake an IBWO photo, or why someone might "alter" an Eskimo Curlew photo, but a photo of a Barn Owl in Ontario? Why???

Anonymous said...

Ego. I'm constantly appalled at how important it is for some people to feel important themselves, and getting credit for finding a good bird is pretty common, unfortunately.

Mike McDowell said...

Darn...the picture was removed!

Mike M.

Anonymous said...

The bill on this bird is clipped!
There are modifications made on this photo as well. This was a great prank that foolish individuals actually searched out this rare bird!!!
Check out this image!!!