[Tweeters] Re: Mute Swans, Black Ducks and other containers full of worms

Mike Patterson celata at pacifier.com
Mon Nov 22 09:07:39 PST 2010

Let me start by saying, I absolutely agree with Steve in regard
to status issues regarding Mute Swans and Am Black Duck...

The larger issue of introduced species is not applied evenly though.

Take, for example, Ring-necked Pheasant, American Wild Turkey or
California Quail. Here on the wild wet coast, none of these species
likely have any long-term viability. They persist at the pleasure of
game bird enthusiasts who release birds in the fall (often without
the blessings of ODFW). Arguably, most non-native game species fall
into that gray limbo occupied by Mute Swan and Black Duck which is
quite different from Skylarks or starlings.

There is, as has already been stated, value in tracking the ebb and
flow of non-native species in the wild from an ecological point of
view. On the other hand, if we're going to make listing rules that
require "unassisted occurrence" or "long-term viability in the wild",
that's a slipperier slope.

Why is a Eurasian Tree Sparrow that got on a boat in Hong Kong without
coercion, then off the boat in Astoria without coercion not count, but
a released Ring-necked Pheasant raised in a coop and released into and
area with a 100 year history of such releases and the presumption of
viability without proof countable?

Does a viable population of California Quail in Spokane mean that all
quail in the state are equally viable and therefore equally countable?

I'm guessing most birders don't give these questions a second thought.
We count the chickens and ignore the sparrow.

And we grumble at the apparent reticence of records committees toward
adding more countable non-natives.

There is a sizable contingent in the birding community that refuses to
include any non-native species on their life-list. These folks still
report them for bio-geographical purposes, but see them as unlistable
in the game of list-building. It's something to think about when
these gray-list questions arise.

Mike Patterson
Astoria, OR
It's a pretty good story

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