Canada Geese

To: "'birding-aus birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Canada Geese
From: "Rosemary Royle" <>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 10:43:37 -0000
"Species cleansing" can get very fraught, too, when the species concerned is 
cute, attractive and popular. This is happening in the UK with the Ruddy Duck, 
which is an American species. It breeds happily in small number on lakes and 
gravel pits and appears to do nobody any harm. It was even taken up as the 
emblem of a major bird group. But then it was proposed that Ruddy Ducks could 
find their way to Spain and interbreed with the very rare and endangered 
White-headed Duck.

Although there is no proof that this has happened, and the real problem with 
White-headed Ducks is degradation/removal of habitat, an expensive 
Government-sponsored (and European supported) cull of Ruddy Ducks went ahead 
against much opposition from a variety of quarters (including me!). It seems to 
have stalled at the moment but I am not sure why.

Compare this with the Mandarin Duck - also naturalised on many lakes in 
southern England. This appears to be welcomed by all (it is a stunning little 
duck) and it is now reckoned that there are more in the UK than in China and 
that the UK population is an important species reservoir.

I can only agree with the person who said that all this seems to some extent 
subjective. We have recently allowed Ring-necked Parakeets to establish. 
Probably too late to do anything about it now, but we could have done 10 years 
ago. They compete with native birds for nesting holes - but they are attractive 
and exotic!

By the way, I agree that Canada Geese should not be welcomed. They are 
controlled here in nature reserves, by removing eggs, or replacing them with 
dummies, or similar techniques, otherwise they just take over the ponds and 
wetlands.  In town parks they are a real nuisance.

Rosemary Royle
Wales, UK

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