[Tweeters] RE: 'Exotic' Species on State Lists

Doug Schonewald dschone8 at donobi.net
Sun Jun 7 17:23:06 PDT 2015

Mostly my thoughts pertain specifically to comments on Mute Swans by Wayne
and Matt, both of who I respect deeply.

I keep my personal lists according to the ABA, both state lists and my NA
list. However, remember that lists are personal and nothing keeps anyone
from keeping complete lists of birds seen whether they are exotic or not.
The ABA list will remain in flux and change regularly. Not too many years
ago we had one species known as Sage Sparrow. Now we have two known as Sage
Sparrow and Sagebrush Sparrow. If you kept a complete list of sightings you
would have been able to add a species to your list without making a trip to

Changes in bird populations are dynamic and ever-changing. I can remember
not so long ago when everyone in the state chased after the rare and elusive
vagrant known as the Eurasian Collared-Dove. In a few short years they went
from a rare vagrant to a complete nuisance, breeding in every niche in the
state. There is also a movement at this time to eradicate (or at least
dramatically reduce) Caspian Terns and DC Cormorants from the avian biomass
in the Columbia Basin. Does this mean that since there is a concerted and
official effort to remove these populations that people should not count
those species if seen in the area and attempted eradication? Of course not.

That is not to say that the Mute Swan is going to do the same as the
Eurasian Collared-Dove, but it is likely that they will become established
and a viable bird on the state list. Recently I saw a photo of a Mute Swan
with what appeared to be a Trumpeter Swan paired on a wetland near Quincy,
WA. The Mute Swan was not likely transported there by human means. Rather,
it likely arrived the same way the Trumpeter Swan arrived. Does that mean
it is a vagrant? From what population did it come from? No one can reliably
answer any of those questions for a sighting in the Columbia Basin far away
from any known populations in the rest of the state. At the same time the
Mute Swans that are being seen in the Puget Trough came from somewhere. If
the sightings are increasing then it is reasonable to assume they are either
breeding locally or the population is being supplemented by an established
population in the Vancouver/Victoria area. Regardless if they are escapees
from the aviculture industry or influx from Canada they should be recorded
and noted. Whether you put them on your list, or not, is entirely up to


Doug Schonewald
Moses Lake, WA

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