Date: 6/25/18 10:00 am
From: Collins, Fred (Commissioner Pct. 3) <FCollins...>
Subject: [texbirds] Re: Budgerigar eBird Submissions
Steve et al,

I agree with you about all these escapees. Except domesticated birds of which there are very few. That’s when eBird has brought up the special designation Domesticated.

As for the escapee Budgie, Eric mentioned none had been validated. I think that is because of the listing issue. Most reviewers don’t like an obvious domestic bird on “their” county list which would occur if they validated them.

While researching exotic birds in Texas I have talked with several eBirders who have been completely turned off of eBird because their sightings of an exotic species does not show up on the species map. Although it is on their list it doesn’t show up on the species map so they figure what is the use of posting it. All understandable but unfortunate as well.

Fred Collins, Director
Kleb Woods Nature Center
20303 Draper Road,Tomball TX 77377

Harris County Precinct 3
Steve Radack Commissioner<>

From: Stephen Gast <segast23...>
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2018 11:44 AM
To: <texbirds...>; Collins, Fred (Commissioner Pct. 3) <FCollins...>
Subject: Re: [texbirds] Re: Budgerigar eBird Submissions

Seems to me that it is only the phenotype, i.e. what the observed traits are, that rules here. And not whether you have knowledge or suspect that they are introduced. Thus we enter munias/manakins, bishops, bulbuls, Egyptian geese etc. here in Texas without consideration of origins, knowing full well or strongly suspecting that they are all recent escapees. (the questions being how long - and maybe from where or how)

Apparently, the only distinction being asked for by eBird is have these birds been bred for specific observable characteristics, and in this case plumage only - since this is the only obvious thing we as eBirders can normally observe.

So the determination as to whether these are 'countable' is an ABA 'sporting' thing and not something that really concerns eBird scientifically, which is simply to document the distributions of birds living in the wild. And nominally, birds that have some likelihood of retaining their native innate characteristics.

As for recording observations: I suspect that commenting in the comment field that, for example: " these Ringed Teal are likely offspring of the pinioned pair known to exist 5 miles to the east at farmer John's waterfowl collection" would be a good thing to enter along with your record into eBird.

As for the Muscovy Duck/Rock Pigeon exceptions - here are two obvious (readily observed) human-bred phenotypes (apparently the only ones in the world) that have now become an accepted self-sustaining wild population no longer relying on "stale bread crumbs" to survive.

(As for the 'purity' of anyone's eBird list - I think the best thing is to try and go see all the introduced birds in the USA in their original native countries and then one doesn't have to worry about it.) [Image removed by sender. Emoji] (smiley winking emoji)

Steve Gast
Houston, Texas

On Monday, June 25, 2018, 10:20:39 AM CDT, Collins, Fred (Commissioner Pct. 3) <FCollins...> wrote:

Thank you Joe and Joseph,

I was not aware of the eBird definition. Unfortunately it has me a bit confused when it comes to both Budgerigar and Peacock. There is no doubt that both species populations that occur in the United states are a result of domestic birds that escaped or maintained in some sort of at-liberty situation.

The domestic lineage of the highly domesticated Budgerigar undoubtedly has contributed to this birds failure to establish itself as did the Monk Parakeet that descended all from recently imported wild birds. Regardless of what a free flying Budgie looks like it’s heritage is from long domesticated stock.

The Peacock is a bit different. Most birds observed show little or no influence of their domestic heritage. Peacocks are not all that domesticated and many bird keepers prefer the normal peacock to a white or pied one. Peacocks have been subjected to little selective breeding beyond calmness and perhaps low dispersal attributes. They are far less numerous and have a longer generation period which slows their domestication.

Yet, if I use eBird’s definitions as I understand it, even though we know these birds to be domestic in origin, just like the rock pigeon, if they exhibit the plumage of the native form they should not be reported as domestic.

BELOW is the quote from EBird

This option *should not* be used to report birds that are identical to wild birds but that you presume to be escapees. Importantly, our "domestic type" is a distinct lineage for these birds and not a value judgment of whether you believe it recently escaped from a cage or pen. This is often mis-used in eBird, so please try to understand this distinction before reporting domestic types in eBird. domestics are generally not counted on eBird lists, but there are two exceptions. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) is used to represent the wild, free-flying pigeons that occur in cities worldwide, and it distinct from Rock Pigeon (Wild type), which is much rarer and of conservation status in many regions (read more here<>). Muscovy Duck (Established Feral) is to be used for feral type birds (white, or blotchy, often with oversized red warty protuberances on the face) that are considered established parts of the avifauna in areas such as Florida; the Muscovy Duck is unusual since it also has an option for Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) which does not count on lists but is phenotypically identical.

A confused Aggie,

Fred Collins, Director

Kleb Woods Nature Center

20303 Draper Road,Tomball TX 77377


Harris County Precinct 3

Steve Radack Commissioner<>

From: <texbirds-bounce...> <texbirds-bounce...> On Behalf Of Joe Fischer
Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2018 10:47 AM
To: <texbirds...>
Subject: [texbirds] Re: Budgeriar eBird Submissions

Thanks for the info. We learn something everyday. There was clearly some info sent out the Indian Peafowl a couple of years ago, but basis this definition it probably did not warrant flagging them as domestic.

Glad to see that Ron is elated to have added to his eBird list.

Joe Fischer

Sent from my iPad

On Jun 23, 2018, at 9:35 AM, Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...><mailto:<josephkennedy36...>> wrote:

All of my nesting birds were the green phenotype? identical to the wild Australian birds as were the colony on the florida west coast. I have had both the yellow and blue variants at my feeders. Once a blue bird tried to join the nesting birds but was driven off.

Petco was the source of all the budgies back then. They were kept in an open pen out on the floor near the door so kids could reach in and have a bird sit on their finger. They all could fly and could get out of the cage and then out the door. Health code concerns had them caged and then no new escapees.

On Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 9:11 AM, Eric Carpenter <ecarpe...><mailto:<ecarpe...>> wrote:


This is a confusing topic for lots of folks. The use of "domestic" in the eBird taxonomy is tied to distinctive phenotypes, and not necessarily birds that aren't actually wild. There is a whole paragraph (search for "Domestics") on the following eBird webpage that goes over this:

I'm sure many/most (all?) Budgerigars that are in pet stores are phenotypically different than wild ones but I can also imagine that there could be a couple here and there that look pretty close plumage/color-wise to wild birds where "Budgerigar" is the correct choice over

The main part of that is just education, for both reviewers and eBird users, in knowing/remembering that 1) there is a "(Domestic type)" option for a given species and 2) that this only to be used for birds that are phenotypically distinct. I can't say its a huge problem though. In 2018 for Texas, there have been 51 submissions for "Budgerigar (Domestic type)" and 6 for "Budgerigar", and none of the non-domestic types have been validated.


Eric Carpenter

Austin, TX

On Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 8:07 AM Joe and Renee Fischer <dmarc-noreply...><mailto:<dmarc-noreply...>> wrote:

Why do Texas birders continue to submit Budgeriar to eBird when there is a Budgeriar (Domestic) option in eBird? Certainly no one believes these are wild at this point. A bit surprised that the eBird reviewers have not corrected. I am certainly in favor of submitting everything that is seen. However, some species do have a domestic option and that would appear to be the correct option. We went through this with the Indian Peafowl a couple of years back.

Joe Fischer

Friendswood, TX


Eric Carpenter


Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston
Join us on Facebook!