re: collecting birds - vagrants

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: re: collecting birds - vagrants
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 13:03:20 +1000

My two cents(rounded to 5 with a couple of questions):

Has anyone done any research into the appearance of vagrants, and the subsequent influx of significant populations of that species into previously unoccupied areas? Are vagrants 'lost' or are they perhaps scouting for new areas for a more substantial population to settle?

If the latter is the case, then shooting a vagrant is not only detrimental to the bird that is killed and the population it may inform, but also to the area and the 'scientic community' in that area, who miss out on acheiving real insight into the behaviour and habits of the species. (Not to mention the possiblity of collecting numerous injured and roadkilled specimens)

In my short and uninformed experience, i can reference two examples from the Geelong area: The Northern Shoveller and Crested Pigeons.

The Northern Shoveller introduced me to the world of vagrants, and i believe had appeared before at the WTP. If someone had of shot the Northern Shoveller the previous time it appeared, i would never have seen the bird (along with probably 50-100 others). Thus reducing the possible 'hooks' for others to be lured into to serious scientific investigations on birds, migration etc. etc.

Re: Crested Pigeons: I'm guessing they were originally vagrants (or an 'out of range' species), which are now building up significant numbers in the area. A good example of what may have happened if the Yellow Chat in question, had of survived.

In any case, it sounds like the shooter and those who commissioned the shooting of the Yellow Chat were just plain lazy! I'm sure other museums have this specimen avaliable for study, and they are usually stuffed away in draws and not on display anyway. Surely a loan of the specimen could have been aquired for analysis on request from another museum???

My two cents.


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