Having recovered from a successful Victorian Twitchathon event, I would like to
add some final comments regarding the Greylag Goose et al.
Thank you to David James and others for your extensive, informative and
distinctly personal responses ... it is quite remarkable when one examines the
range of responses over the past week, which has only solidified my intitial
query in being (as I somewhat suspected) a complex one. Of course I was hoping
in some small way that I would be able to get a definitive response pointing
toward whether it was acceptable to list certain species on my personal
Australian list - alas, not, and it appears as if the situation will remain a
personal (and somewhat ethical) decision until, as David James suggested in his
e-mail, a process is put into place whereby BARC or similar authority takes
"ownership" of awarding species status to feral populations.
All the best,
> Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 14:45:31 -0800
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Graylag Goose - status in Victoria amongst other
> "tickable ferals"
> It is an interesting point raised by Paul Rose, when do populations of
> escapee birds become a feral population or an introduced species and how or
> when do we decide to put them on the Australian list?
> Part 1: Criteria
> There used to be a guideline rule that the species has been self sustaining
> and breeding in the wild for a minimum of 10 years. !0 years is pretty
> arbitrary and some birds might not even breed in some 10 year periods (e.g.
> Ostrich?). In the sort of parallel case of looking at population changes in
> threatened species the IUCN moved from "10 years" to "10 years or 3
> generations, whichever is greater". A generation is defined as the average
> age of first breeding in females. Problem is that this is virtually
> impossible to know for most species, so I think it is not just impractical
> but inhibitive. So the 10 year rule, though rubbish, is better. Criteria
> normally don't consider a minimum size of the population. If one family of
> say an escaped parrot or finch started breeding and after 10 years and there
> was one nest and 6 birds, would they be an introduced bird? Would they be the
> same as Common Myna or just a temporary aviary escapee? The lines are
> difficult to draw.
> Part 2: Collating information.
> Atlas databases are probably the best way to document long-term sustaining
> populations of feral birds. However, natural history studies are also
> suitable. A few years ago I co-authored a paper in Sunbird on breeding
> records of Helmeted Guineafowl and Indian Peafowl in N Qld, in which we
> documented population persistence and breeding records over a decade or more.
> Nevertheless, the fact that some peafowl and guineafowl meet the 10 year
> criterion, does not mean that all feral birds do.
> Part 3: Making a decision to include
> In the case of published papers, decisions can be made whether to accept
> species as introduced during literature reviews for checklists (e.g.
> Christidis & Boles) and handbooks (e.g. HANZAB, DAB). HANZAB Vol 2 (1993)
> found insufficient evidence to accept Helmeted Guineafowl as introduced
> anywhere in Australia. Christidis & Boles (1994). C&B 2008 wrote:
> "Populations of Numida meleagris (Helmeted Guineafowl)
> in Australia were not considered by Marchant and Higgins (1993) to be self
> sustaining and viable, on which basis Christidis and Boles (1994) placed it on
> the supplementary list. Britton and
> Britton (2000) and Wieneke and James (2006) provided evidence that there are
> numbers at several locations in northern Queensland where this species has
> persisted and bred. It is transferred to
> the main list."
> Likewise C&B 1994 did not accept Green Junglefowl because HANZAB considered
> them extinct, but Mike Carter (in an article in Wingspan) pointed out they
> were still extant, so C&B 2008 listed them.
> Reviewing atlas data to make decisions is something that I don't think has
> occurred in Australia before, though I don't know for sure. It could be
> included in reviews if there were appropriate communication and cooperation.
> David Torr wrote: "I guess the arbiter is the BARC list, which does not
> include the Greylag".
> That's a problem. The taxonomy, nomenclature and sequence of the BARC
> checklist is done by the IOC. The decisions about the regular species come
> from historical texts (checklists, HANZAB, etc). BARC assesses occurrences of
> rare birds and thereby monitors and adds new vagrants to the list. But BARC
> doesn't assess introduced birds. Currently, as I described above, assessing
> introduced species is a piece meal process at best, and not something that
> BARC cannot be involved in. I don't that there has ever been a systematic
> process in place.
> Jeremy O'Wheel wrote "I don't think Graylag Goose would be tickable in
> Australia at all, since
> >all are escaped domestic breeds (as far as we know)"
> It is true that they are domestic geese, but "tickable" populations in
> Australia of Gallus gallus are also derived from domestic stock, not Red
> Junglefowl. It's messy having these domestic strains of wild birds introduced
> and wild, but if they exist they should be recognised.
> Whether any Greylag Geese of domestic origin occur in sustained feral
> populations in Vic (and on Norfolk I) meeting the 10 year criterion (or any
> other criterion) I can't say. Data are needed.
> David James
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