Magpie Pica pica in Port Hedland WA

To: Keith Weekes <>, Frank O'Connor <>
Subject: Magpie Pica pica in Port Hedland WA
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 15:52:36 -0800 (PST)

I "give a shit what Rare Birds Committees think"! I can't speak for BARC. 
However, in my "American life" I was a member of the New Jersey Rare Birds 
Committee (NJBRC, the New Jersey counterpart of BARC) and in my "German life" I 
was a member of the Hessen Rare Birds Committee (AKH) and the 
Schleswig-Holstein Rare Birds Committee (AKSH) (two German counterparts of 
BARC). The idea of Rare Birds Committees is NOT to 'kill' a tick on someone's 
'list'. No, the most important job of Rare Birds Committees is to peer review 
the documentation of a 'rare bird' (reports and photos, sketches, sound 
recordings - or whatever you submit), to collect, publish, and archive the 
records that prove that a 'rare bird' occurred. Therefore, documentation must 
eliminate any other species that might be confused with the claimed rarity. 
Some documentation is clear cut, such as a good photograph which shows 
identification characters. Some documentation is less clear cut, and that's why 
there is a large committee with a variety of specialties, opinions,
 and skills to vote on the evidence. To learn about recent range expansions of 
certain species it is also important to get an idea if a bird came on its own 
or was released by someone.
Serious scientific journals only use data that were accepted by the responsible 
Rare Birds Committee for their analysis. That's why I'd like to encourage 
observers of a 'rarity' to document it, so that it can be used for scientific 



Nikolas Haass

Sydney, NSW

----- Original Message ----
From: Keith Weekes <>
To: Frank O'Connor <>
Cc: Tony Palliser <>; ; Bill 
Ramsay <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 8:26:33 AM
Subject: Magpie Pica pica in Port Hedland WA

Well it's a bird and at least it's in the geographical confines of what most
of us think of as "Australia".

Who really gives a shit what BARC thinks anyway? More interested in weird
vagrants found in territorial waters than anything mere mortals could hope
to twitch.

On 05/12/2007, Frank O'Connor <> wrote:
> There was considered to be a good chance that the bird escaped / was
> released from a cage on a boat.  Apparently they are kept fairly commonly
> for their song.
> Personally, I would have no problem with counting a bird hitching a ride
> on
> a boat (especially for a state list), but not if it probably came from a
> cage.  I don't have a lot of problems accepting that it might be shot in
> this case.  7 Tree Sparrows were recently shot in Port Hedland, presumably
> ship assisted.
> At 04:19 PM 4/12/2007, Simon JR Muirhead wrote:
> >Ive been thinking about this, and I not sure which side of the fence I
> sit
> >on. While this species is not specifically migratory, it still has made
> it
> >too Australia and the bird was recorded out of captivity. If the bird had
> >floated here on raft as an example without the aid of human intervention,
> >would that make the sighting more acceptable? I guess the point I would
> like
> >to make is where is the line drawn at an acceptable sighting, as animals
> in
> >general have been crossing bodies of water accidentally for millons of
> >years, and does it make a difference if it is aided by humans? I
> certainly
> >wont be giving out any ear bashings, but the question you raise has got
> me
> >intrigued and I would like to hear what other people think as im a
> relative
> >newcomer to the field but  I am lucky enough to do bird surveys for work.
> >
> >Regards, Simon Muirhead
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: 
> > On Behalf Of Mike Carter
> >Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 4:14 PM
> >To: ; Frank O'Connor
> >Cc: Tony Palliser; Bill Ramsay
> >Subject: [Birding-Aus] Re: Magpie Pica pica in Port Hedland WA
> >
> >I know of two previous reports of the common Eurasian and N American
> Magpie
> >(aka Black-billed Magpie) Pica pica in Australia, both I think in the
> last
> >15 years. One was at Newcastle, NSW and the other near the Hay Point Coal
> >Terminal 37 km S of Mackay, QLD. So all occurrences have been near busy
> >international ports.
> >
> >My objections to accept these reports as valid records and therefore to
> >twitch them, was received with much acrimony in some quarters and I still
> >occasionally get earbashed on the matter. Whilst in my view ship
> assistance
> >per se, i.e. the bird hitched a ride on a moving object at sea is no bar
> to
> >acceptance, this species is not a migrant but is a common urban bird in
> >China and environs. They are sedentary birds, weak, laborious flyers,
> >reluctant to cross water. See 'Birds of Western Palearctic' where
> dispersal
> >and movements are measured in metres rather than km!  Therefore I think
> they
> >boarded the ship at the point of departure or were even taken aboard as
> pets
> >and released here. They could not have made the journey without being
> looked
> >after by man and were really pets that escaped or were deliberately
> >released. I'm comfortable counting Ostrich seen in the 70's but some
> think
> >that is stretching it a bit but if I saw or heard a Magpie I wouldn't be
> >happy to count it!
> >
> >So no Frank, I don't agree that the Port Hedland bird is the first, or
> for
> >that matter the third record for Australia!
> >
> >Mike Carter
> >30 Canadian Bay Road
> >Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
> >Tel  (03) 9787 7136
> >

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