I take Paul’s point. There is no real value in adding Emus at
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
to data sheets (or ebird). In that case it matters little either way, as we sort of know what the story is and the number of reports made does not change the story. Provided
we know, then anyone can interpret the data correctly. The problem is it is not always clear cut and we don’t always know the actual history of an odd potentially captive or human transport bird. Also those who access ebird now or in the future may be entirely
unaware of the local knowledge and history we have. It also relates to whether we should record escaped or released birds. I think it provides potentially useful data on which to make comparisons. That Budgerigars & Cockatiels are recorded much more than Canaries
gives useful information that Canaries probably don’t survive as well, because they are about as equally common in captivity and probably escape in similar numbers. The issue of
countenance the reporting of Flamingos, for example, at the Bronx Zoo only become important if they start spreading and by collecting records from the start, then we can
have a handle on any change or spread.
From: David Rees [
Sent: Friday, 16 December, 2016 6:41 PM
To: Martin Butterfield
Cc: Paul Fennell; Canberrabirds
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Reporting captive birds at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
I think that the emus at the Cotter are functionally self-sustaining native wild birds, even if they are descended from captive TBB birds. Probably occurred naturally in the area in the past, now reintroduced.
Interesting one are the TBB Magpie geese - while free-flying they don't seem to go anywhere - I would not personally see them as wild birds and would not record them as such.
On Fri, Dec 16, 2016 at 6:10 PM, Martin Butterfield <> wrote:
I have in the past seen an emu near the high point on the Camelback trail. Still in Tidbinbilla, but I would rate it as a wild - or at least feral -bird, although almost certainly descended from
the BBQ-bandits around the visitor centre. The same probably applies to those seen on Corin Rd and even the gang I saw at Cotter.
I'd suggest that it is probably better with species of mixed provenance to report any that are not actually fenced in and let the analysts sort out how to report them.
On 16 December 2016 at 16:03, Paul Fennell <> wrote:
Hello to all active bird observers!
I have just had my first look at all the bird data for the COG area of interest for the annual bird report. It was a big year for birdwatching in this region, with the number of records presented, the numbers of species reported, and the number of observers
higher than ever before. I think the eBird and the smart phone app has changed the face of bird record keeping for quite some time.
The first set of records I looked at was for the Emu, being first bird on my list.
This year there were far too many reports (generally reported on eBird) of captive emus at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. I am not exactly sure of what eBird policy is for the reporting of captive species, but I would assume eBird would not countenance the
reporting of Flamingos, for example, at the Bronx Zoo. I am also assuming that someone who has a far more intimate knowledge of eBird policy will inform us all on exactly what’s what on this issue.
Basically, COG certainly wants to know about sightings of emus in the wild, even those not far from Tidbinbilla who have most likely escaped. COG is not interested in recording captive birds that are inside Tidbinbilla.
So out of the 29 reports of emu sightings, there were 10 that appeared to be wild birds. This is slightly up on the 7 records for last year.
So I would appeal to all bird observers to report only birds in the wild, not those in captivity.
Warm regards and happy (wild) birding.
Editor, COG Annual Bird Report