Help Needed with Blue Sparrow

To: Alistair McKeough <>
Subject: Help Needed with Blue Sparrow
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Fri, 15 May 2009 17:56:57 +1000

I think Rick Prum would prefer you to use your butterfly net, as he would really like it live. It has potential as a Stud Sparrow.


Carl Clifford

On 15/05/2009, at 5:20 PM, Alistair McKeough wrote:


I have packed the slingshot. If I find it I will mow the pullet down.

Should it just be delivered to the Museum?

On 5/15/09, Carl Clifford <> wrote:
Dear All,

I have contacted Rick Prum about his comment post on the "Living the
Scientific Life" blog re the Sydney Blue Sparrow. It was indeed Rick
Prum. He is very excited about the Blue Spadger and thinks that it
most likely a genuine mutation. Here is part of his email :

"This bird is a unique scientific opportunity, and I have been
desperate to try to contact someone about this bird. Emails to the
author of the story were all returned undeliverable, so I posted a
message to try to get through.

I think that this bird is a unique mutant for the production of spongy
barb color, like a fairy wren. I know of no such bird in any captive
breed species, though there are mutants for the loss of this trait in
some parrot breeds.
I am working on the issue of the development of blue feathers, and
have recently published papers on this (available at the journals Soft
Matter and   J. Roy Soc Interface). I can send them to you tomorrow
when I get back to work."

So I ask any Sydney birders to keep an eye open for anything like a
bluish coloured sparrow, as this a genuinely "Big Thing". Rick Prum
has contacted Walter Boles about this matter, but I think he may need
all the help he can get in locating the sparrow or obtaining feather
or blood samples. Also if anyone has a contact for Richard Shears, the
"Daily Mail" journalist who discovered the blue sparrow, I would be
most grateful if you could send them to me, or ask him to contact me
or Rick Prum direct at  .

Keep your eyes open,

Carl Clifford

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