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Re: [CALBIRDS] a question about the Grinnell and Miller follow on survey

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  • Lori Conrad
    Hi all Having just returned from one of the exact areas where the Grinnell Team are doing their so-called re-survey (Erskine Creek, near Bodfish, Kern Cty), I
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 8, 2008
      Hi all

      Having just returned from one of the exact areas where the Grinnell Team are doing their so-called re-survey (Erskine Creek, near Bodfish, Kern Cty), I can say that hearing gunshots & knowing what they were shooting at was disconcerting at best. When Bob Barnes informed us that they had collected a wrentit with a full brood patch, I wondered if the lives (deaths) of those baby wrentits would be worth the parent bird's ultimate sacrifice. With the technology available today, (ie: DNA, blood samples, feather analysis, etc.), I say no, absolutely not. Now I read that they plan to take 10 of each species? This method is totally unnecessary in this day & age. I'm sorry.

      Just my 2 cents.

      Lori Conrad
      Hermosa Beach, CA

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Bob and Susan Steele
      To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2008 7:57 PM
      Subject: [CALBIRDS] a question about the Grinnell and Miller follow on survey


      Greeting fellow birders, a couple months ago I heard that one of the UC schools was going to survey the spots done by Grinnell and Miller. I said about time. Now I hear that in addition to point counts they are also collecting (or trying to) a series of 10 of every species in the areas they are looking at. Now, I have to say o no. Now that would be a great idea if it were say 10 starlings, but I'm not so keen of them attempting to take, say, 10 Sooty Grouse from Kern Co. Why you may ask. Well, I'd be surprised if there are 10 Sooty Grouse in Kern Co. Some species are rare everywhere and some locally so.

      There is an interesting write up by Grinnell about Gray Vireo in Kern. He waxes eloquent about blasting 1 or 2, says what great habitat there is, and how there should be tons of these birds around. I live within 15 miles of that spot. I wander in there every year looking for Gray Vireo. Have never found them and probably never will. My guess is that there were never very many. Who knows, maybe Grinnell's taking finished them off.

      So, is it 10 of every species and for what purpose?

      If anyone out there who knows the real story, please pass it along. Thanks.

      Susan Steele
      Inyokern, CA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Kimball Garrett
      Birders, This is not the forum to revive tired old debates about scientific collecting; those who object to collecting on moral grounds will never be convinced
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 9, 2008
        Birders,

        This is not the forum to revive tired old debates about scientific
        collecting; those who object to collecting on moral grounds will never
        be convinced to change their "religion" and those who object out of
        ignorance of the scientific value of specimens are better served reading
        the literature than arguing on a listserve. I particularly recommend
        the papers listed at:
        http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~ccicero/AOU_Collections/Useful_Papers.html
        #Collections_and_Collecting

        and in particular Van Remsen's 1995 paper in Bird Conservation
        International, a PDF of which is available at:
        http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/AVECOL2.html

        I note that the original poster in this thread is supportive of
        scientific collecting, having said: "Now that would be a great idea if
        it were say 10 starlings [that were collected]", and I applaud her for
        that. However, I think it is important to defend the honor of Joseph
        Grinnell, the most important figure in the history of California
        ornithology and bird conservation, from accusations made in this thread.
        In particular,

        > There is an interesting write up by Grinnell about Gray Vireo in Kern.
        He
        > waxes eloquent about blasting 1 or 2, says what great habitat there
        is,
        > and how there should be tons of these birds around. I live within 15
        > miles of that spot. I wander in there every year looking for Gray
        Vireo.
        > Have never found them and probably never will. My guess is that there
        > were never very many. Who knows, maybe Grinnell's taking finished them
        > off.

        The notion that Joseph Grinnell single-handedly eliminated Gray Vireos
        from Kern County is, simply, absurd. Grinnell collected (oh, excuse me,
        "blasted") "1 or 2", and I doubt that there are more than a half-dozen
        other Gray Vireo specimens in the world's collections from Kern County.
        To chalk up the species' alleged disappearance from Kern to the
        collection of a couple of specimens, and to ignore all of the following
        issues is unrealistic. What about habitat change from grazing, mining,
        off-road vehicles, fires set by yahoos, invasive plant species, and
        climate change? What about the superabundance of Brown-headed Cowbirds
        and the increase of various human-subsidized predators like Common
        Ravens? Why has the Gray Vireo declined in most of its former California
        range even though Grinnell (and others) collected only a few of them in
        only a few portions of their range?

        Similarly, the Grinnell Resurvey Project will not eliminate Sooty Grouse
        from Kern County or anywhere else. The limited bird collecting
        associated with that project is conducted under the same restrictions
        under which all scientific collectors operate. Rare species cannot be
        collected, period. And certain additional species for which there is
        conservation concern can only be collected under a fully vetted MOU,
        which means that the State of California and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife
        Service must approve in each instance, above and beyond their very
        strict standards for issuing collecting permits in the first place.

        The Grinnell Resurvey Project will tell us a great deal about how the
        avifauna of California has changed in the last century because it will
        compare data carefully collected by many of the same methodologies 100
        years apart. The limited number of specimens collected will tell us
        many important things that cannot be determined from observation and
        from trapping and releasing birds (though those remain the dominant two
        methodologies in the Project). For example, exact reproductive condition
        is determined from dissection of the reproductive tract (have breeding
        seasons changed with climate change?); tissues and organs are preserved
        for potential analysis of toxins and other contaminants (are
        environmental contaminants impacting bird populations?); blood and
        tissue samples allow a suite of molecular analyses (have there been
        genetic/evolutionary changes in populations over the past 100 years?);
        exact spectrophotometric and measurement data can be taken (and
        re-taken, over and over) on the preserved skins (are there discernable
        shifts in morphology of bird species at Grinnell's old collecting
        localities? Have subspecies boundaries changes?). The list goes on and
        on.

        PLEASE, people. Be aware of and spend your talents and energies
        addressing the REAL conservation issues our birds face. We should be
        celebrating the MVZ's Grinnell Resurvey Project, and celebrating the
        work that Grinnell and his contemporaries did in laying the foundation
        of our knowledge of California's avifauna. And I echo Ed Pandolfino's
        invitation to all of you to attend the WFO meeting in October and hear
        Carla Cicero's talk about this important project.

        Kimball

        Kimball L. Garrett
        Ornithology Collections Manager
        Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
        900 Exposition Blvd.
        Los Angeles CA 90007
        (213) 763-3368
        (213) 746-2999 FAX
        kgarrett@...

        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf
        > Of Bob and Susan Steele
        > Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2008 7:57 PM
        > To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [CALBIRDS] a question about the Grinnell and Miller follow on
        > survey
        >
        > Greeting fellow birders, a couple months ago I heard that one of the
        UC
        > schools was going to survey the spots done by Grinnell and Miller. I
        said
        > about time. Now I hear that in addition to point counts they are also
        > collecting (or trying to) a series of 10 of every species in the areas
        > they are looking at. Now, I have to say o no. Now that would be a
        > great idea if it were say 10 starlings, but I'm not so keen of them
        > attempting to take, say, 10 Sooty Grouse from Kern Co. Why you may
        ask.
        > Well, I'd be surprised if there are 10 Sooty Grouse in Kern Co. Some
        > species are rare everywhere and some locally so.
      • JOHN STERLING
        I just wanted to add to Kimball s excellent post that Grinnell was also the primary force behind keeping Yosemite National Park a place where people can
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 9, 2008
          I just wanted to add to Kimball's excellent post that Grinnell was also the
          primary force behind keeping Yosemite National Park a place where people can
          observe wildlife in their natural habitats. Without his energy and vision,
          much of Yosemite would have turned into a theme park (and for a time it even
          had a zoo in the valley that Grinnell finally convinced the Park Service to
          eliminate). He was also a major force behind promoting responsible wildlife
          management policy in the National Park System. We still enjoy his profound
          legacy that goes far beyond his collection of scientific specimens.



          John Sterling

          VVVVVVVVVV



          26 Palm Ave

          Woodland, CA 95695

          cell 530 908-3836

          ani@...



          From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of Kimball Garrett
          Sent: Monday, June 09, 2008 10:10 AM
          To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [CALBIRDS] a question about the Grinnell and Miller follow on
          survey



          Birders,

          This is not the forum to revive tired old debates about scientific
          collecting; those who object to collecting on moral grounds will never
          be convinced to change their "religion" and those who object out of
          ignorance of the scientific value of specimens are better served reading
          the literature than arguing on a listserve. I particularly recommend
          the papers listed at:
          http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~ccicero/AOU_Collections/Useful_Papers.html
          #Collections_and_Collecting

          and in particular Van Remsen's 1995 paper in Bird Conservation
          International, a PDF of which is available at:
          http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/AVECOL2.html

          I note that the original poster in this thread is supportive of
          scientific collecting, having said: "Now that would be a great idea if
          it were say 10 starlings [that were collected]", and I applaud her for
          that. However, I think it is important to defend the honor of Joseph
          Grinnell, the most important figure in the history of California
          ornithology and bird conservation, from accusations made in this thread.
          In particular,

          > There is an interesting write up by Grinnell about Gray Vireo in Kern.
          He
          > waxes eloquent about blasting 1 or 2, says what great habitat there
          is,
          > and how there should be tons of these birds around. I live within 15
          > miles of that spot. I wander in there every year looking for Gray
          Vireo.
          > Have never found them and probably never will. My guess is that there
          > were never very many. Who knows, maybe Grinnell's taking finished them
          > off.

          The notion that Joseph Grinnell single-handedly eliminated Gray Vireos
          from Kern County is, simply, absurd. Grinnell collected (oh, excuse me,
          "blasted") "1 or 2", and I doubt that there are more than a half-dozen
          other Gray Vireo specimens in the world's collections from Kern County.
          To chalk up the species' alleged disappearance from Kern to the
          collection of a couple of specimens, and to ignore all of the following
          issues is unrealistic. What about habitat change from grazing, mining,
          off-road vehicles, fires set by yahoos, invasive plant species, and
          climate change? What about the superabundance of Brown-headed Cowbirds
          and the increase of various human-subsidized predators like Common
          Ravens? Why has the Gray Vireo declined in most of its former California
          range even though Grinnell (and others) collected only a few of them in
          only a few portions of their range?

          Similarly, the Grinnell Resurvey Project will not eliminate Sooty Grouse
          from Kern County or anywhere else. The limited bird collecting
          associated with that project is conducted under the same restrictions
          under which all scientific collectors operate. Rare species cannot be
          collected, period. And certain additional species for which there is
          conservation concern can only be collected under a fully vetted MOU,
          which means that the State of California and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife
          Service must approve in each instance, above and beyond their very
          strict standards for issuing collecting permits in the first place.

          The Grinnell Resurvey Project will tell us a great deal about how the
          avifauna of California has changed in the last century because it will
          compare data carefully collected by many of the same methodologies 100
          years apart. The limited number of specimens collected will tell us
          many important things that cannot be determined from observation and
          from trapping and releasing birds (though those remain the dominant two
          methodologies in the Project). For example, exact reproductive condition
          is determined from dissection of the reproductive tract (have breeding
          seasons changed with climate change?); tissues and organs are preserved
          for potential analysis of toxins and other contaminants (are
          environmental contaminants impacting bird populations?); blood and
          tissue samples allow a suite of molecular analyses (have there been
          genetic/evolutionary changes in populations over the past 100 years?);
          exact spectrophotometric and measurement data can be taken (and
          re-taken, over and over) on the preserved skins (are there discernable
          shifts in morphology of bird species at Grinnell's old collecting
          localities? Have subspecies boundaries changes?). The list goes on and
          on.

          PLEASE, people. Be aware of and spend your talents and energies
          addressing the REAL conservation issues our birds face. We should be
          celebrating the MVZ's Grinnell Resurvey Project, and celebrating the
          work that Grinnell and his contemporaries did in laying the foundation
          of our knowledge of California's avifauna. And I echo Ed Pandolfino's
          invitation to all of you to attend the WFO meeting in October and hear
          Carla Cicero's talk about this important project.

          Kimball

          Kimball L. Garrett
          Ornithology Collections Manager
          Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
          900 Exposition Blvd.
          Los Angeles CA 90007
          (213) 763-3368
          (213) 746-2999 FAX
          kgarrett@... <mailto:kgarrett%40nhm.org>

          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com <mailto:CALBIRDS%40yahoogroups.com>
          [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com <mailto:CALBIRDS%40yahoogroups.com> ] On
          Behalf
          > Of Bob and Susan Steele
          > Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2008 7:57 PM
          > To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com <mailto:CALBIRDS%40yahoogroups.com>
          > Subject: [CALBIRDS] a question about the Grinnell and Miller follow on
          > survey
          >
          > Greeting fellow birders, a couple months ago I heard that one of the
          UC
          > schools was going to survey the spots done by Grinnell and Miller. I
          said
          > about time. Now I hear that in addition to point counts they are also
          > collecting (or trying to) a series of 10 of every species in the areas
          > they are looking at. Now, I have to say o no. Now that would be a
          > great idea if it were say 10 starlings, but I'm not so keen of them
          > attempting to take, say, 10 Sooty Grouse from Kern Co. Why you may
          ask.
          > Well, I'd be surprised if there are 10 Sooty Grouse in Kern Co. Some
          > species are rare everywhere and some locally so.





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bob and Susan Steele
          Greetings fellow birders, I m still looking for information about the Grinnell resurvey. At website http://mvz.berkeley.edu/Grinnell/index.html I see that
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 9, 2008
            Greetings fellow birders, I'm still looking for information about the Grinnell resurvey. At website http://mvz.berkeley.edu/Grinnell/index.html I see that this "intends to further Grinnell's vision by extensively resurveying the vertebrate diversity at the sites he and his colleagues examined" and "Grinnell Resurvey Project: This map represents the California Life Zones. Boxed on it are some of the proposed project areas for comprehensive resurvey." I can't seem to find a link that provides any further information on the plan. Is there any information that is publicly available?

            Thank you,
            Susan Steele


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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