Re: Bird mutations.

To: "Max O'Sullivan" <>, <>
Subject: Re: Bird mutations.
From: "Philip A. Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 15:00:46 +1000
Don't ignore the fact that mutations happen in wild stocks, just as much as in domestic stocks especially in the long term. Wild stocks are not "pure" anyway. This is the stuff of evolutionary process. The only difference is that people often select things differently to nature. A new colour variety appearing in domestic stock (if it looks nice) will usually be propagated into a new variety. Oddly coloured new types in wild birds (especially flocking things like budgerigars and cockatiels in a land full of falcons) are likely to be at a disadvantage.
There are any number of examples of oddities in nature. "The odd blue budgerigar in flocks of budgies in western NSW" could be a natural occurrence. As for escaped or released birds, it is more likely to be the reduced fear, poor flying ability, poor knowledge of the unconstrained environment and poor food-finding skills that will be their downfall, rather than the fact that they are oddly coloured. Release of these birds is hardly ever likely to be of concern (unless wild populations are swamped by new varieties) as the genetic variants occurring in captivity probably do or inevitably will have at some stage in the distant past occurred or in the future will occur naturally anyway. 
I'm not sure what is meant by "sufficiently recessive". Genes are either recessive or they are not. The only difference is that recessive requires that both, rather than just one allele, be of that type for the character to show (for single gene characters and all other things being equal). 
-----Original Message-----
From: Max O'Sullivan <>
To: <>
Date: Thursday, 19 October 2000 18:47
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Bird mutations.

The talk of escaped Cockatiels and whether they are cage-developed mutations raises the question about the possible dangers of such mutations if they succeed in breeding with native stock.
How does this affect the gene pool of the wild birds and does the mutation eventually disappear with little or no "visible" damage to the native birds?
In other words, is the mutation sufficiently recessive for it not to affect the purity of the native stock in the long term?
I have seen the odd blue budgerigar in flocks of budgies in western NSW and was assured that they would have no effect on the basic green native form even if they managed to avoid predators and breed.
With so much emphasis in one area of aviculture into mutations of all finch and parrot species, I often wonder what would happen if a collection Cockatiel mutated birds were set loose in an area where they could mix with a flock of native birds and interbreed - that's assuming they could survive in the wild.
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