[CT Birds] Peregrine question-

Carrier Graphics carriergraphics at sbcglobal.net
Fri Aug 31 21:05:28 EDT 2007

All very good points Patrick!

    Especially the one about the eastern Chestnut. Might we use this example to show how the
indigenous Turkey quickly adapted to the chestnuts eradication by becoming more dependent on the
second producing tree for mast - the Oak tree? 

       I must admit though, I am a champion of letting our biodiversity  do what it does best,
work towards a natural solution to any changes it might encounter, in nature, or as we are seeing
more of each year - man made changes... 
      In fact, man as a species has created so many changes in the worlds ecosystems, and in such
short time, we still do not really know the consequences of these changes - yet!
      Lets just hope our unique and special earth will ultimately decide the outcome of these
changes that we as humans have produced, and look favorably towards our species in the future.

Paul Carrier  

--- "COMINS, Patrick" <PCOMINS at audubon.org> wrote:

 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

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