[CT Birds] [NOSbird] Purple gallinule

Chris Elphick elphick at sbcglobal.net
Thu Oct 1 21:21:21 EDT 2015

Hi Lisa,
I completely agree that there is much to do in order to address the many harms we've inflicted on wildlife.  I've spent my entire career trying to do that.  As I indicated in my original email, there are certainly some cases where capture might be appropriate.  If it were a whooping crane or a black robin, I might feel very differently (though the legal issues there would be an order of magnitude more complex!).  

But, this is a species with a large geographic range, a global population that is likely in the 100,000s, not known to be declining rangewide (though there is weak evidence that hints at a possible decline in the US - but it's very weak evidence), and for which habitat loss is unlikely to be a major issue.  For all these reasons it is ranked as "Least Concern" in systematic assessments of the status of the world's bird populations.  It is also an individual that is far outside its normal range and so unlikely to contribute to the population's ability to thrive, and that under normal circumstances would have had a high chance of dying anyway (because most young birds do ... in fact in the species' I study even adults have a about 40-50% chance of dying every year ... not because of anything that humans do, but because that is typical in most birds).  

I do totally understand your concerns, and think that they are critically important things to worry about.  I just don't see any way that capturing this bird will address any of them.  The solutions to most bird declines center around protecting habitat, consuming less, driving less, and so on.  There are sometimes very good reasons for rehabilitating injured birds, but conservation is rarely one of them.  

I hope this helps explain my thinking.  And if you continue to disagree, that's just fine too :).

Best wishes,
 Chris Elphick @ssts 
Storrs, CT 
elphick at sbcglobal.net
      From: Lisa White <madalynwhite at aol.com>
 To: Aidan Kiley <eezambo at gmail.com> 
Cc: elphick at sbcglobal.net; Tricia Reid <reidtri at gmail.com>; ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org 
 Sent: Thursday, October 1, 2015 3:01 PM
 Subject: Re: [CT Birds] [NOSbird] Purple gallinule
I respectfully disagree. In a perfect world, I think nature taking its course would be the right thing. But we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a world where bird populations are dramatically declining due to our poor stewardship -- habitat loss, global warming, etc. So I think that if a bird is truly injured (and perhaps this bird is not), we should always help it out if we can.  

Lisa White


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