Perhaps field-guide authors are just as confused as I am as to what counts
as a valid wild population for birdwatching purposes, when they omit "feral
native populations" from the maps.
Is there a distribution map etiquette that authors follow? If so, we
should be made aware of what it is. If not, then I repeat a question I've
asked previously but didn't get a reply to:
"After what period of time, or after what number of breeding events, do we
deem these breeding populations of so-called feral native birds to be
essentially satellite wild populations?"
In other words, when are they considered to be part of the normal
I imagine the answer is not straightforward but until we come up with an
acceptable one, and a protocol for monitoring current and future isolated
populations, I reckon the authors have every right to play it safe and leave
them off the maps. As a trade-off they could mention known localities of
(established?) escapees/releasees in the text.
I've heard a 10-year period mentioned in relation to deeming your local
(exotic, domestic) Mallards to be "truly feral", but have never known where
that originated from, nor whether it was correct, nor its applicability to
native species such as the Long-billed Corella that seems to be popping up
everywhere. (Add Highfields, north of Toowoomba, SE Qld, to the list).
What are the rules in other countries?
Finally, in Australia, the term "feral" generally conjures up nasty thoughts
of various destructive exotic mammals. Surely we can come up with a better
term in describing native species of bird whose only "crime" has been to
successfully colonise another part of the country that we've taken them too.
Toowoomba Q 4350
ph (07) 46 881 318
fax (07) 46 881 192
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hugo Phillipps [SMTP:
> Sent: Thursday, 22 July 1999 18:52
> Subject: birding-aus free-flying feathered ferals
> Hi everybody -
> I know this is a bit of a hobby-horse with me, but I find the thread on
> sightings of birds well out of their natural range very interesting. I
> believe it is important to understand the dynamics of feral populations to
> determine whether they pose threats to to bird conservation, and remind
> that all free-flying (or free-walking/swimming - more likely with birds
> such as guineafowl, pheasants, muscovy ducks...) birds can be recorded for
> the Atlas of Australian Birds database.
> Hugo Phillipps,
> Communications Coordinator
> Birds Australia,
> 415 Riversdale Road,
> Hawthorn East, VIC 3123, Australia.
> Tel: (03) 9882 2622. Fax: (03) 9882 2677.
> O/s: +61 3 9882 2622. Fax: +61 3 9882 2677.
> Email: <>
> Web Homepage: http://www.vicnet.net.au/~birdsaus/
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