House Crow; Glenn, whim or science

Subject: House Crow; Glenn, whim or science
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 17:28:36 +1100


            Where does science stop and whim begin? Did we not have this debate a long time ago and did we not agree that it was whim rather than science, but nevertheless regarded as science, that influenced one taxonomist (scientist) to regard a taxon as a species when another, using the same data, considered it sub-species? Each scientist gave reasons for arriving at their conclusion; for allocating the subject into one category rather than the other. I see the choice here as somewhat similar, so there maybe an element of whim.

            If you have not seen McGill’s 1949 paper which quotes observations by Hindwood and Hutton, you will have missed one of the strengths of my argument to include House Crow with “. . the several gulls, wagtails and others . . ” as a ship assisted migrant. Hutton states that while on a trip from Ceylon to Australia, “a Crow accompanied them all the way, resting on the ship at night or when fatigued. The ship had just left Colombo when the bird was discovered flying overhead”.  I class this as ship assistance. The bird landed on the ship voluntarily and then used it from necessity. It was not forcibly “transported”.

            There is no similar positive evidence for accepting Black-billed Magpie.

            Whim, science or a bit of both?


                                                            Mike Carter 

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