Re: [CALBIRDS] Re: Nutmeg manakin
- There's been a persistent, if small, colony of NUTMEG MANNIKINS in San Jose
for a few years. I too am interested in the reputed origin for these birds,
which I know from Hawai'i, where they are a common introduced species.
Half Moon Bay, CA
on 9/9/05 12:07 PM, JONES,JENNIFER MARIE at jjones@... wrote:
I had a bunch of nutmeg manakins at my feeder last winter. At least 4
adults and 8-10 juveniles would mob the feeder and hold their own against
house finches a third larger in size. Great-looking birds, but as you say
they are exotics and appear to be increasing in numbers. I haven't seen
them around (I live in L.A.) since early this year, but am actually
hoping to see them return this fall/winter.
I wondered at the time if anyone has done a population study in CA. From
what I could tell, they are found all over the southern states and even
in Northeastern states.
Quoting "Paul S. Highland" <paul-kim@...>:
> > I was walking my dog this morning with my binocs and admiring an[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> > Bishop, and cutting back through the shortcut, exiting the bike
> trail, I
> > came across a flock of six to eight birds fitting that description.
> > knew they weren't Black Phoebes so out came the binocs. They were
> > Mannikins and they definitely are colonizing my neighborhood by the
> Santa Ana River.
> So how did these exotic birds get to California? Are they cage birds
> being released illegally?
> === Paul H!
- At 12:07 PM 9/9/05, JONES,JENNIFER MARIE wrote:
>I wondered at the time if anyone has done a population study in CA. FromSmithson, W. S. 2000. Breeding biology of the Orange Bishop (Euplectes
>what I could tell, they are found all over the southern states and even
>in Northeastern states.
franciscanus) and Nutmeg Mannikin (Lonchura punctulata) in southern
California. M.S. Thesis, Cal. State Univ. Long Beach.
Of the various "exotic" finches established or often seen in the wild in
California, the Nutmeg Mannikin is perhaps the best established (after
House Sparrow, of course). Since there have been a few postings about
manikins in recent days, I thought I would mention that the California
Bird Records Committee continues to be interested in monitoring the
status of this species and other non-natives. The CBRC has acknowledged
some naturalized species by adding them to the official California state
list (with an "I" symbol for "introduced") -- relatively recent
additions include Eurasian Collared-Dove, Red-crowned Parrot and
White-tailed Ptarmigan. While there is no current groundswell to add
Nutmeg Mannikin, Orange Bishop, various other parrots, Mute Swans, etc.,
to the state list, it is possible that some of these (and other) species
will eventually meet our criteria. The relevant by-law is:
VI. Bird Records
B. Records Treated.
(8) 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 all 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.
The sticking point is usually item "(iii)", since populations of most
naturalized species occupy just a few widely separated areas and likely
result from independent establishment events.
Since it is impractical for us to gather all sightings of birds like
Nutmeg Mannikins, we ask that birders in California carefully record
their sightings of such species in their field notes (and ideally also
submit them to eBird, which now "accepts" sightings of these exotics) so
that when the time comes to collate all available information it will be
available. I would imagine that most, or all, Sub-regional (County)
Coordinators for the Southern California and Northern California regions
of North American Birds are willing to compile such information on a
county basis, so you might keep them informed of your sightings of
manikins and other naturalized or naturalizing species.
Many thanks to Bill Bousman for pointing out Scott Smithson's excellent
MS thesis on bishops and mannikins; Scott's field work was conducted in
LA and ORA counties but clearly there are populations of both species
(and especially of mannikins) elsewhere in the state.
Finally, somebody inquired as to how Nutmeg Mannikins became established
in California. Yes, their establishment has been entirely due to
released or escaped birds from the avicultural trade. Sadly, you can
buy Nutmeg Mannikins in almost any chain pet store (and they're not even
very expensive), but it is, of course, illegal to release them.
Incidentally, the subspecies established in California (at least in
LA/ORA) is nominate punctulata or something similar, and as such they
resemble the adult pictured in the NGS guide more closely than the
brown-scalloped bird depicted by Sibley.
Kimball L. Garrett
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles, CA
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- I am glad that Kimball pointed to the CBRC bylaw language on non-native
introductions, and especially the requirement that non-native species be
"judged to have occupied all geographically contiguous suitable habitat
to such a degree as to sustain the population and be thought unlikely to
before adding them to the State list. That is among the reasons there
is no groundswell of opinion to add a bunch of urbanized exotics to the
California list. It is desired that only permanent introductions be
acknowledged with state-listed status (and 'countability').
It is good to recall -- and for newer birders, to learn -- that there
are several examples of non-native exotics that were once thought to be
"establsihed" (there were populations of hundreds or thousands of birds)
but that eventually died out. In the 1960s there were populations of
European Goldfinch in the Northeast that everyone back then 'counted' on
all lists; they died out in the 1970s (the birds, that is, not the
listers). The ABA and AOU endorsed populations of Blue-gray Tanagers
and Spot-breasted Orioles in Florida, and Black Francolin in Lousiana,
that have died out. Most recently, the AOU and ABA had to take off
Crested Myna from all lists, since the Vancouver population of
introduced birds eventually died out -- although they were there for
many decades and were chased and "counted" by many ABA listers. Thus the
mere presence of "lots" (even thousands) of non-natives in a localized
spot does not suggest that the introduction will be permanent.
It was the over-eager push of wild-eyed listers to count all sorts of
exotics in th 1970s that led to the "NIB" [no introduced birds] movement
that is still with us [in county listing circles; this is not meant to
start any discussion of the merits of that approach -- please do not
continue such a thread here]. It was thus gratifying to see the CBRC
adopt the much more reasonable Bylaw language that Kimball cites in the
1980s, and the CBRC has been (mostly) appropriately conservative thereafter.
I join Kimball in urging all observers to record their observations of
non-native species and forward them to NAB county and regional compilers
-- not for the purposes of adding these unwanted species to the State
list, but for the value that is gained to ornithology in learning about
and documenting the rise and fall of exotic populations.
Pacific Grove, MTY, CA
- At 12:12 PM 9/9/2005, Jennifer Rycenga wrote:
>There's been a persistent, if small, colony of NUTMEG MANNIKINS in San JoseI suspect their numbers are propped up by various illegal and legal
>for a few years. I too am interested in the reputed origin for these birds,
>which I know from Hawai'i, where they are a common introduced species.
breeders. I found several large room-sized cages years ago full of
exotic birds squirreled inside a tamarisk thicket in ag fields in
Goleta. Both the fields and tamarisk are still present.... we have
lots of sightings in Goleta as well ...... Jim Greaves, Santa Barbara CA
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