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>Hey Paul:
>
>Out of curiosity, if somehow (and I'm not convinced that this is even
>possible) the Masked Ducks in Pembroke Pines were proven to be
>captive/escape birds, I'd be interested to know how this would effect
>your perception of seeing these birds. Would their beauty be diminished?
>Would their "presence" at this small wetland somehow be less than that of
>a more wild bird? Would they be "imperfect" somehow? To me, it matters
>little even though I can understand that you want them to be ABA
>countable. (So do I, but I've already seen them in the wild in Texas
>anyway.) I've often wondered about people's perceptions of things. The
>recent discussions on countable exotics vs. escapees started it. . . .


This question wasn't asked of me, but I'll bite anyway -- birding's been
slow lately...

My interest in birds has little to do with their physical appearance.  It's
the connection the bird gives me to "wilderness", "the untamed world", "the
non-human world" -- whatever you want to call it -- that drives me.  It's
something that's difficult for me to put into words, and even if I could, I
think I might not want to put it in words.

Seeing a vagrant duck in a small pond next to a busy road and a huge paved
parking lot may not be the ideal "wilderness" experience, but it gives me a
connection in some way to the places from where it may have come -- perhaps
a lush, unexplored tropical marsh in some seldom-seen part of the world, for
instance.  It also makes me think there's more to the world than pavement
and shopping malls.  Actually, even common, everyday birds do the same for
me -- except maybe feral Rock Doves :) -- but it always helps when the bird
is from an exotic locale (Arctic birds are the best).

However, if a bird got somewhere via UPS, it loses that connection.
Instead, it's pretty much just another reminder of all the traffic I had to
drive through to see it, the greenhouse gases that I created on that drive,
etc., etc.  This is also why I think of introduced species as "necessary
evils" on my life list.  Granted, some of you will still experience this
connection that I'm talking about, but for me, I end up thinking more about
the hand of man on the environment than I do about the bird.

Furthermore, I could argue that seeing an escaped bird takes away from the
"hunting" aspect of birding, but that would be a difficult case to make here
-- with all due respect to those who chased the duck but missed it, it
almost felt like driving to a zoo when I saw it.

So, yes, I'd like to be able to put it on my life list, and I want my life
list to be "clean", but this issue of wild vs. escaped goes beyond listing
for me.  To be honest, their "presence" _would_ be less than that of more
wild birds, and I'd probably think of them as "imperfect" in some respect.

OK, I've been way too verbose and "sensitive",
John Puschock
[log in to unmask]
Eustis, Lake Co.

P.S. So let's shoot one of these birds, do some stable isotope analysis on
its feathers, and see where it came from so I potentially can enjoy my
experience more.  :)
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