Monday, April 1, 2013
Corruption in the Bird of the Year Program
Posted by Robert Mortensen
Beuders - Extravagant travel and outlandish accommodations. Bribes. Secret meetings. Debauchery at levels previously unknown. All of this is sure to shock the close-knit birding community as one of their own has been taken down on corruption charges for acts beyond comprehension.
"As the reigning 'Birder of the Year', I am appalled by his actions and disavow any connection to our sister program," responds a disheartened Bill Stiteler on last night's BirdChick Podcast.
Geoff Jordan, president of the association formerly sponsoring the now defunct program, reports that he had his suspicions several months ago. "I got a call from one of our board of directors, Kendall Coughman, after he had returned from a secret meeting with our 'Bird of the Year' coordinator at a swanky resort in the Bahamas. Kendall had been offered a bribe and was being pressured to support a behind-the-scenes campaign for the Eurasian Collared-dove to be the 2014 Bird of the Year. Why the special interest in this exotic and invasive species? And what's more, where was the money coming from to finance this campaign?"
Investigations into the money trail all point to one organization, the Feral Feline Association (FFA). An anonymous source from within the FFA hinted that their organization intended to bring down the "Bird of the Year" program by creating discord from within. Had they been successful in their attempt to instate the Eurasian Collared-dove as the "Bird of the Year" they would have effectively disenfranchised tens of thousands of North American birders.
A Homeland Security official also states that additional corruption charges will be forthcoming, the money trail again leading back to the Feral Feline Association and connected with the lumping of previously separate species. Yet another attempt to create contention and discord within the birding community as life lists are about to be cut by at least 14%.
When asked about the man now in federal custody, magazine editor, Bill Thompson XIII, said "Most people thought he was an upstanding guy, but those of us who knew him closely knew what a shifty character he was. I'm not surprised at all that he was willing to compromise our ethics to aid and abet an organization such as the FFA."