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Jeroen Vanheuverswyn — February 04, 07:31AM

Exclusion of not native birds in lists

Hi,

In Europe there are alot of non native bird species which originate from escaped birds. Typically we don't count these birds to our lists, and the online database we use also keep this in mind (waarnemingen.be for example).
Currently there is this notion of not countable species in eBird, but it's used only for Mallard (Domestic type) and Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) that I'm aware of.
Would it be possible to include way more species in this list for Europe.
Some examples are:
Snow Goose Chen caerulescens
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Black Swan Cygnus atratus
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca
Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus

Zhel — February 04, 03:10AM

However, some of us *want* to have non-native birds on our lists if they are present in the area and form an integral part of the 21-century ecosystem.

Ruddy Shelduck is an extinct former breeding species in my country but we have seen some ferals that might breed this or next year and form new populations, recolonizing part of their former range. The pheasant is practically a native bird after being introduced millenia ago; many species have evolved within that time frame.

Up rated: 3 Down
Don Gesualdo — February 04, 05:59AM

Hello. Most of the species mentioned , albeit non native, now are quite well established in various european areas. These species live in the wild, and especially they do have an impact on the ecosystems they live in, as well as on other bird species.
Since eBird is a project of citizen-science, the scientific component is important. So these species should be reported, also because this way these species' presence and distribution can be monitored and studied.
In northern America, european starlings (and several other species) were introduced. They are very well established though. And (apart from, perhaps, the skylark and a few others) their impact is huge and undeniable. So they are reported when submitting observation into eBird.
If you are using eBird just to keep track of your list, and want to exclude the species you mentioned, please at least answer 'NO' to the question: Are you submitting a complete checklist of the birds you were able to identify?. Yet, I would enter all species you are observing, because these data are important.
On a personal note, I wonder how can one exclude (or not count) a Canada Goose when birding, say, in the winter on the Netherland coast, or a Shelduck in Camargue France, or a R-N parakeet in Rome or most other europen cities, or a Pheasant in Hungary. These species are common and well established. we can not pretend they do not exist. Just like a R-N Pheasant in Canada, or a House sparrow in the US.
Mankind had, and has, a huge impact on nature and virtually no bird species has not been affected by human action.

Up rated: 7 Down
Chris Wood — February 15, 08:00AM eBird Staff

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the excellent answers, Zhel and Don. This is something that is on our development list. There are a lot of complications in terms of how we treat countability — do we leave it up to individual users, do we have regional editors assign countability so that comparisons in the Top 100 are more equal. There are also complications with running queries — it is much faster to count everything than to count some and exclude others. We don’t want to make it take ten times as much time to open My eBird.

In the meantime, we do encourage you to report all species — even the non-native ones. Our hope is to develop a means where you can exclude these from your lists in the future.

Thanks,
Chris


Chris Wood
eBird Project Leader
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
ebird.org

Up rated: 3 Down
Brad Wier — February 15, 02:10PM

The recent innovation of a North American listing for Rock Pigeon (feral) is, I would argue, a good way of handling expanding populations of introduced birds and the citizen scientists who dutifully report them... leaving open the option, if the data supports it, of reporting an actual vagrant separately.

Case in point: Egyptian goose (originally introduced to Texas ranches as domestic waterfowl) have quickly invaded golf courses and parks throughout San Antonio and south-central Texas and begun nesting in the past few years, with increasing consequences for the native waterfowl. I'm sure these are being widely reported (they're far more common than Canada geese here) but I can't use the map tool or see other birders' data to confirm what we're seeing on the ground; in eBird, the data for non-ABA birds is hidden.

I'm regularly filling out "additional information" for Egyptian geese and have even included photos of nesting birds and chicks, but Egyptian goose hasn't made a blip on the occurrence maps yet. I'm sure this can be frustrating for birders of all skill levels. I'm sure it's tiresome for the regional editor to have to constantly either read (or ignore) all the requested "additional information," too...

In a case like this... a widely occurring non-native bird... a simple listing for Egyptian Goose (Feral) would allow us to begin to use the tracking tool and share our data.

(Alternately, could you please make the Egyptian Goose occurrence map available soon?)

Thanks!

Up rated: 2 Down
Chuck Sexton — March 19, 11:47PM

I second Brad's suggestion to add "(feral)" to Texas reports of Egyptian Goose since the species is clearly breeding successfully and expanding it's range here in CenTex. As for countability, I'll leave that up to individuals for their own lists, but I'd personally like to have this particular feral species NOT counted just yet in eBird species totals. There is no easy answer for when the status of "Egyptian Goose (feral)" rises to the predictable, permanent stature of, say, European Starling or Rock Dove (feral), but at present, it is pointed in that direction.

Up rated: 0 Down

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