Counting Crows

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Counting Crows
From: "Glenn Holmes" <>
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2001 12:42:48 +1000
Your response about the two crows does nothing to dispel my incredulity.  I would have expected you to be in Mackay about the same time as David James and the other birders.
After all, the House Crow and Black-billed Magpie are well documented commensal species.  They are both good candidates for ship-assisted passage because they scavenge freely round human habitation.  My moderate experience with both in the field has been almost exclusively round houses and farms.  The Magpie is such a stunning garden bird that it is worth seeing again whether ticking it for Australia or not !!
You seem to miss the points of my two postings [23/2, 4/3], in particular about being consistent in assessing the likely provenance of both crows.
Even so, I dusted off some of my volumes of Emu that are older than me, to read McGill's 1949 account of House Crow in Australia.  Did you see an addendum by Gibson [61:244] that described the passage of three birds between Colombo and Geelong, from 10 to 29 May 1959 ?  Unfortunately I could not locate another old account, of a wagtail that hitched a long ride, I think in the western Pacific.
The species that you or others decide to tick does not concern me at all.  Current practice in Australia seems encumbered with few constraints anyway.  The Grafton ducks provide a salutary example of this practice .... when birders fail to prove, or perhaps do not consider scrupulously, that birds may have escaped, then the occurrence is validated by lack of evidence about captivity.
You have already ticked the Pintail and Crow.  We have both ticked Blue Rock Thrush, in my case accepting that it very likely came at least halfway by ship.
I would interpret your previous energetic birding activities to mean that if the Magpie cannot be proved to have escaped, then in this instance you have missed a tick. 
Glenn Holmes & Associates
**birding & botanical specialists**
PO Box 1246 Atherton    Qld 4883
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