What is a Feral?

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: What is a Feral?
From: "Terry Bishop" <>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 16:32:50 +1100

I have always called the Columba livia the common name of Feral Pigeon.
Basically the common grey with the bronze collar. A couple of bird books also
have the same common name. Probably better known as the Rock Pigeon but I have
never ticked one with a guitar. 

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Carl Clifford
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 12:28 PM
To: Birding-Aus Aus
Subject: What is a Feral?

Dear All,

When does a species become a feral and when does it become a native?

Most Australian birders would regard the Cattle Egret as a native,  
but shouldn't it be classed as a feral? It was introduced, possibly  
unsuccessfully, to Derby WA in 1933. It then appeared, in large  
numbers in Oenpelli NT in 1948 and reached Colac Vic in 1949 and now  
it is pretty well ubiquitous. As the species is highly mobile and  
considerable numbers move between northern Australia and the  
Indonesian Archipelago, it is potentially a serious vector for avian  
diseases. Should they be culled?

Hanzab describes a colony of Cape Barren Geese at Tidbinbilla ACT as  
feral (V 1-b p1196). Should they be culled, after all they do compete  
with other native grazing water birds for an often scarce food  

Off the Avian track, but equally interesting, the Dingo. This man  
assisted migrant has caused considerable damage to the numbers of  
native mammal species and may very well have caused the loss of some  
species. It is regarded as a native, but meets many of the criteria  
for a feral, so what is it?

I would be interested in peoples opinions on this. I find that the  
line between feral and native a very wavery one which appears to be  
drawn nearly at random.

Carl Clifford

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