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Re: flamingos, parakeets, and eBird exotics changes

Re: flamingos, parakeets, and eBird exotics changes
By – 1:50 pm
Thanks, Paul.The official eBird Help Center article on exotic species treatment can be found here:https://support.ebird.org/en/support/solutions/articles/48001218430-exotic-and-introduced-species-in-ebirdFrom that article, regarding life list/Top 100 changes: “Later this year, Escapees (birds that have escaped or been intentionally released from captivity) will no longer be counted in your eBird Life List or Top 100 totals. Escapee species are clearly indicated with a white asterisk in a dark orange circle. Escapee reports are now more easily seen in eBird (e.g., on maps and Escapee sections of regional pages), can always be found in your personal sightings lists for a region, and will always have the Escapee icon when applicable.”Before changes are made to life lists and Top 100, sacred ground for many users, eBird HQ wanted to ensure that the coding (the colored asterisks and the lovely maps showing where species are native and non-native) was working appropriately. A few kinks had to be worked out immediately after the release, but to my knowledge, it all appears to be working as intended. If nothing else, this will show just how many species have escaped or been released here in Southern California, or just over the border to our south. As one friend said, “I’d want to know if there was a toucan in my neighborhood!” However, the next stage will be to remove escapees from life lists, Needs Alerts, Rare Bird Alerts, and I believe they will be binned in the regional Targets, much in the same way they are broken out in the regional displays that show the three categories of birds. Currently Targets includes all species, regardless of exotics status. The Top 100 will then have a level playing ground where only native/established and provisional species (a set, determined list) will count. As for the official state list, the California Bird Records Committee occasionally votes on the establishment of non-natives (e.g., Red-masked Parakeet the most recent example) based on the following criteria (available at https://californiabirds.org/CBRCbylaws.html):”The Committee will also review records of breeding populations of introduced species not on the state list, but only if evidence is submitted that attempts to prove (a) the correct identification of the species and (b) the viability of the population. To be judged viable, a population must: (i) have bred in the state for fifteen (15) consecutive years, (ii) in general, be increasing or stabilized after an initial period of increase, (iii) be judged to have occupied a significant portion of geographically contiguous suitable habitat to such a degree as to sustain the population and be thought unlikely to significantly diminish, and (iv) occupy an environment judged similar enough in ecological factors (e.g., climate, vegetation, food, shelter, competitors, predators) to the species’ natural habitat, or to other successful introductions, that permanent establishment seems likely.”Swinhoe’s White-eyes is certainly on a trajectory for inclusion on the official state list, pending some genetic work, while Burrowing Parakeet has a long way to go.Cheers from Vermont (where there is a Ruddy Shelduck not quite getting the rockstar treatment of the flamingos),Justyn Stahl