[CT Birds] Peregrine question-

COMINS, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Fri Aug 31 07:52:19 EDT 2007

Hi Paul:
     That is certainly a valid point and to a degree, introduction of alien genotypes can hasten the extinction of a native population through genetic swamping.  This is something that is often encountered in plant conservation and why we had to pull out a bunch of Purple Milkweed that we had planted at the Bent of the River.  We had a native population and found out that the seed we had purchased was gathered from Midwestern plants.  If we had kept the introduced plants, there was a risk of cross pollination and pollution of the native genotype of a very rare plant.  A similar situation may have also played a role in the declines of Northern Bobwhite in our area, since stocked birds are often of southern origin and many believe that contributed to the decline of our native cold-hardy stock.

      A third similar situation and perhaps the most applicable here, is the one with the reintroduction of American Chestnut through insertion of disease tolerant genotypes of alien origin and backcrossing them with semi-resistant native specimens.  I have asked if the new chestnuts would be American Chestnut at all if they are x % Chinese Chestnut or some other species of chestnut.  The answer I have been given is that we will never have our pure American Chestnut back and that if we can have something that is mostly American Chestnut, it will at least provide the function that the trees that once dominated parts of our landscape did.  They also note that even without the blight, there would have been hybridization and gene pollution going on because planting of the exotic types and natural cross pollination would still be widespread.   We live in a landscape that is far from pristine.   Perhaps this might have also been the case with peregrines, if there was a certain percentage of escaped or released birds to mingle with the wild population, especially at the low levels that remained at the population minimum.  Perhaps if we wanted the restoration of our pure eastern race, we would have been out of luck and would not be peregrineless aside from Arctic migrants.    We will never know at this point though, since the tiger is out of the bag, so we will just have to sit back and enjoy these beautiful predators.

Patrick Comins, Meriden

From: ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org [ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of Carrier Graphics [carriergraphics at sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2007 12:57 AM
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: [CT Birds] Peregrine question-

     So glad to see so many great responses on the Peregrine question -
So far all are very good ones from Greg H, Scott R, Patrick C. and Linda and Steve Broker. Thanks
for your ideas and input-s.

I think we need to compare what is and has been done with the reintroduction of the California
Condor as something different from what was done with the Peregrine reintroduction program.

The California Condor was on the brink of extinction, and the recovery breeding efforts were and
are being accomplished with the exact race needing the help. Our Peregrine situation however is
very different, by using alien races as breeders to reintroduce into the void areas of the now
extirpated Eastern Peregrine race.

As Greg Hanesek points out, their is a strong and prosperous Arctic race of Peregrines to the
north of America in upper Canada that might in time fill the void of the extinct Eastern race with
possible help from the now doing well races from western America. This may not happen within our
lifetimes, but if nature has its way, as it often does, it might just eventually happen.

To some, the reintroduction of the captive bred alien races of Peregrines into the void of the
Eastern race is just a quick, man induced fix, possibly harming or changing our ecosystem in ways
not naturally intended to be. It took millions of years to evolve an Eastern race of the Peregrine
falcon in plumage and life style that fit into it’s personal unique niche.

Any other ideas you might know on this subject that you might want to share here?

Paul Carrier

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