Sometimes I’m wrong too.

A few months ago I started a new Twitter/IG game called #CrowOrNo.  This was, in part, simply a response to the awesome wave of science games across social media and wanting to be apart of that science communication effort.  But I also started it because discerning these birds is just genuinely hard.  Case in point, I’ve had more practice than most but even I get fooled sometimes.

One of my most popular posts is “10 corvids that don’t give a damn about your rules” which, while intentionally lacking any scientific credibility was at least supposed to be an accurate collection of corvid gifs.  Turns out I goofed.  Not once but twice.  The original post contained these two gifs neither of which are of corvids.  It took the help of an Australian birder, and a fellow corvid expert,  Jennifer Campbell-Smith, for me to notice my error.

As a grad student/scientist/blogger/science communicator this is my nightmare.  That I’ve put out information, even if it was supposed to be fairly non-sciencey in nature, that’s wrong. But I did.

Being a catastrophist, my first reaction is “You blew it.  No one will take you seriously now.  It’s over.”   Needless to say, this is not a motivating feeling.  It’s a ‘crawl under the covers and stop trying’ feeling, which is about the least helpful way to react to making a mistake and a reaction I would discourage in anyone else.  So I’m going to take my own advice and remember that I’m a person before I’m a scientist.  I’ve made, and will continue to make mistakes.  The only thing I can promise is that I will be forthright in my mistakes and keep learning.

So the next time you error in #CrowOrNo, know you’re in good company.  Sometimes I’m wrong too 🙂




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12 responses to “Sometimes I’m wrong too.

  1. Pingback: 10 corvids who don’t give a damn about your rules | Corvid Research

  2. Jamila

    I admire you for admitting your errors. Now I know I can count on you to say if something is not right, so I trust you.
    PS: Those sure looked like corvids …

  3. SamsaPDX

    Be like the corvids (and friends); just this once don’t give a damn about the rules. 😉

  4. Well done admitting your mistake(s) so publicly that shows a lot of maturity and courage and my respect and trust and appreciation. And yes, most definitely do take you own advice, even Dr’s make mistakes. I really appreciate all the effort you put into your posts to insure accuracy and document sources and bibliography. Keep up the great work it is appreciated!

  5. Agree with previous comments here. Well done on admitting the error! It shows that you take this seriously and are committed to educating/informing people about your passion, I love reading your posts, and I love corvids (and choughs too!). Keep it going!

  6. Are they both currowongs?

    Of course we all make plenty of mistakes. I lead off the case studies in our “calling bullshit” website with an example from my own textbook:

    Even more than that, I think I’ll leave it in the book for the third edition, and have a challenge question asking the students to critique (and then explaining the problems in the answers in the back of the book).

    • Carl, the new WordPress mosaic formation hides the captions but if you hover over the pictures they will pop up. Right is a white winged chough (and not a corvid chough either) left is a currawong

  7. Can you provide the identities of those non-corvid birds? They look like corvids to me too. Thanks.

  8. Robert Herrell

    I taught for 30 years. I so enjoy learning from you. Yes, we teachers make mistakes. A much greater mistake would be not admitting it. Your blog is passion, not a dissertation. Stay human. I love it.

  9. adexterc

    The actual truth is that scientists only learn something when they are incorrect or wrong. There is nothing quite as educational as an incorrect hypothesis

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