Sunday, August 24, 2008

North American Birds Introduced Outside North America

According to the AOU Check-list of North American birds (1998), the following seven species native to North America have been introduced to, and established in, localities outside the area covered by the Check-list. But notice, for example, that it does not include the numerous species introduced from mainland North America to the Hawaiian Islands (which are in the AOU Check-list area).
  • Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) – “Introduced and established in Iceland, the British Isles, Sardinia, and New Zealand.” [pp. 59-60]

  • Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) – “Introduced and established [platyrhynchos group] in . . . Australia, and New Zealand.” [p. 68-69]

  • Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) – “Introduced and established in England (where increasing).” [p. 86]

  • Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) – “Introduced in “New Zealand.” [p. 122]

  • California Quail (Callipepla californica) – “Introduced . . . in . . .New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and Corsica, . . .” [p. 125]

  • Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) – “Introduced and established in . . . New Zealand.” [pp. 125-126]

  • Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea) – “Introduced and established [from birds of unspecified provenance] in New Zealand and on Lord Howe Island.” [p. 664]
  • Friday, May 18, 2007

    Pheasants Threaten Greater Prairie-Chickens in Illinois

    Found in remarks concerning establishment of the 407-acre Jasper County Prairie Chicken Sanctuary Nature Preserve in February 1972 (excerpt):
    Fewer than 100 prairie chickens remain in Illinois. One problem that threatens the existence of the prairie chicken [Tympanuchus cupido] is the introduced ring-necked pheasant [Phasianus colchicus], native to Asia. The pheasant parasitizes the prairie chicken nest with its own eggs, which then hatch earlier than the chicken’s. The confused prairie chicken hen leaves her nest with the young pheasants, unaware that her parasitized nest will not produce any young prairie chickens to repopulate the sanctuary.
    This is one of two prairie chicken sanctuaries in Illinois; the other is located in Marion County.

    Following the establishment of these preserves in 1972, prairie-chicken numbers soared—to 400 birds in Jasper County by the early 1970s, and to 230 birds in Marion County by 1982. But by spring 1994, the Jasper County population had declined to six Illinois cocks plus two translocated Minnesota cocks. In Marion County, the number of cocks ranged from 9-18 from 1992-1996.

    Once again, one of the “factors documented to have decimated prairie numbers” was “intense interactions with pheasants” (excerpt):
    Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) sanctuary managers have successfully controlled nest predators and pheasants in recent years. So far, genetic management via translocation of prairie chickens from large populations in Minnesota, Kansas, and Nebraska also appears successful. From only 6 Illinois cocks in spring 1994, numbers increased to 70 cocks by spring 1996 on at least four well-established booming grounds in Jasper County.

    Illinois Department of Natural Resources. No date. Jasper County Prairie Chicken Sanctuary Nature Preserve. Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

    Illinois Department of Natural Resources. No date. Marion County Prairie Chicken Sanctuary Nature Preserve. Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

    Westemeier, Ron. 1997 (January-February). Grassland for prairie chickens: how much is enough? Illinois Natural History Survey Reports.

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    Thursday, May 17, 2007

    Introduced Birds of Illinois

    Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus), Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido), Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) are all native to Illinois, but native populations have been supplemented to a greater or lesser extent by introductions or reintroductions, as described here (excerpts):
    • Ruffed Grouse in NW Illinois may represent a remnant native population or wild dispersals from Wisconsin or Iowa. A very small population in Pope County may be the result of late 1950’s or early 1960’s releases of wild-trapped birds. All other populations in Union and Alexander county or extreme western Jo Daviess County are the results of wild-trapped birds released during the period 1982-94 and are not considered established.

    • During the summers of 1991-98 Greater Prairie-Chickens from out-of-state were introduced into Illinois’ only remaining populations in Jasper and Marion counties.

    • The native Wild Turkey population in Illinois was extirpated in the early 1900’s. Turkeys were first reintroduced in the Shawnee Forest in 1959 from out-of-state stock. Once established there, Illinois birds have been and continue to be introduced to unpopulated locations throughout the state.

    • Peregrine Falcon was extirpated as a breeding species; the current breeding population is reintroduced.
    Nine other species are known from established in Illinois solely as a result of human introductions: Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Gray Partridge (Perdix perdix), Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), Rock Pigeon (Columba livia), Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus), European Starling (Sturnus vulgarus), House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus), and House Sparrow (Passer domesticus).

    Illinois Ornithological Society. No date. Birds of Illinois.

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    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    State Game Farms

    At one time or another in the 20th century, virtually all States in the U.S. had state game farms run by the State Fish and Game agency (or whatever the relevant agency was called). The express purpose of the game farms was to raise game birds for release to provide hunting opportunities. Some of the State game farms are still in existence.

    The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provides a wonderful history of the Wisconsin Experimental Game and Fur Farm, which was established in 1928, was once the “largest in the country,” and is still going strong.

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    Sunday, May 06, 2007

    Ruffed Grouse Introductions in Missouri

    Thompson et al. (1997) describe the history and status of Ruffed Grouse in Missouri thusly (excerpts):
    By the late 1950s, grouse were almost completely gone from the State, yet Ruffed Grouse habitat in many regions had recovered from earlier abuse. Unfortunately, few native birds were available to recolonize these areas.

    The Missouri Department of Conservation began restoration efforts in 1959 and recently expanded these efforts. The Department obtains wild-trapped birds from other States and releases them into suitable habitat throughout Missouri, with the hope that they will breed and expand into surrounding areas.

    In the above map (taken from Thomspon et al. 1997), dots represent Ruffed Grouse release sites throughout the State.

    Thompson, Frank R., III, Deretha A. Freiling, and Erik K. Fritzell. 1997 (July 8; last revision). Ruffed Grouse in Missouri: its ecology and management. University of Missouri-Colombia Extension Division.

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    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    Ruffed Grouse Restoration in Iowa

    Found nearly Statewide in the mid-1880s, deforestation and grazing of timber caused a dramatic decline of Ruffed Grouse populations, leading to their disappearance from southwest Iowa by 1900 and further population declines in the southern and east-central portions of the State by 1920. Grouse were restricted to their present range in the northeastern-most six counties by 1930.

    This report (.pdf) documents in detail the releases of a total of 1,354 birds at 30 sites in 16 Iowa Counties in 15 different years, 1962-1999. The released birds had been live-trapped in four States (Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) and northeastern Iowa.

    The report concludes (excerpt):
    Unfortunately, it may be futile to continue to attempt to re-establish grouse in southern and southeastern Iowa since the conditions that caused initial declines of grouse populations still exist and may actually be becoming more unfavorable. . . . additional releases can not be justified.
    Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 2002 (October). Ruffed Grouse restoration. Pp. 160-167 in Trends in Iowa wildlife populations and harvest 2001. Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Conservation and Recreation Division.

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    Ruffed Grouse Transplants in Alaska

    One rarely considers the relatively unspoiled wilds of Alaska when thinking about bird transplants, translocations, or introductions, but they have occurred, even in recent years. This report (.pdf, 27 K) discusses in detail a recent transplant of Ruffed Grouse, and mentions another in passing.

    In an effort approved by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 232 Ruffed Grouse live-trapped north of the Alaska Range in central Alaska were translocated and released at 3 different sites on the northern Kenai Peninsula, 1995-1997. Mortality was high, with just 3 (10 percent) of 30 radiocollared birds surviving more than 1 year. The report concludes:
    Despite the high mortality rate of the radiocollared ruffed grouse, birds are being observed at all 3 sites. Grouse have dispersed into available habitat, located suitable forage and successfully reproduced. Monitoring to determine the success of the Kenai Peninsula ruffed grouse introduction is ongoing.
    Funding for this project was provided by the Anchorage and Kenai chapters of Safari Club International, the Alaska Waterfowl Association, and The Ruffed Grouse Society.

    Also, in 1988, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game initiated a 3-year project to transplant Ruffed Grouse from the interior of Alaska to the Matanuska/Susitna Valleys with the result that “Ruffed Grouse are now using suitable habitat throughout” the latter region.

    Steen, Nicholas C. No date. Kenai Peninsula Ruffed Grouse transplant 1995-1997. Final report. Alaska Waterfowl Association, The Ruffed Grouse Society, and Safari Club International. 8 pp.

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    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    Timeline of Oklahoma Bird Introduction Events

    From the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation timeline (excerpts):

  • 1911 – Ring-necked Pheasant first introduced

  • 1931 – Game Farm opens at Darlington

  • 1948 - Program to re-establish Wild Turkey populations initiated

  • 1949 - First Rio Grand Wild Turkeys released (Harper County)

  • 1960 - Autumn marked the State's first fall Wild Turkey season

  • 1966 – First attempt at introducing giant Canada Goose

  • 1971 – Wild Turkey restocking program successfully re-established the eastern Wild Turkey throughout much of the State east of U.S. Highway 69

  • 1980 – Giant Canada Goose introduction

  • 1982 – First successful introduction of giant Canada Goose

  • 1996 – Darlington Game Farm closed
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  • Wild Turkey Restoration in Iowa

    The Iowa Department of Natural Resources provides information about Wild Turkey restoration here (excerpts):
    . . . wild turkeys were eliminated from Iowa by the early 1900’s due to habitat loss and partly because of uncontrolled subsistence hunting.

    The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) began experimenting with turkey restoration in 1920 using pen-reared birds. Releases were made over the next 18 years but all releases were uniform failures. By 1960 no known wild turkey populations existed in Iowa.

    The first attempts at releasing transplanted wild turkeys were in the early 1960’s. Rio Grande and Merriam’s subspecies were released at several sites during the 1960’s but ultimately their poor adaptation to Iowa’s oak-hickory forest led to population failures for both subspecies.

    The first release of Eastern wild turkeys was in 1966 in Lee County. The population response of these turkeys was phenomenal . . .

    Since the initial 1965 release, 3,063 Eastern wild turkeys have been released at 220 sites at a stocking rate of approximately 3 adult gobblers and 10 hens per site. Nearly all sites are considered successful, . . .

    Some in-state translocations continue, but the majority of trapping effort is to assist other states in their restoration efforts. During the 1994-95 season we shipped 401 turkeys to Texas...and Kentucky. During the 1995-96 season we shipped 404 turkeys to Texas...109 to Louisiana...and Kentucky. During the 1999-2000 trapping season, Iowa shipped 363 turkeys to Washington...and 61 to South Dakota.... In addition, 163...birds were moved in-state.
    But as reported here (.pdf, excerpt):
    Restoration efforts ended in 2001 with the last release site occurring in Linn County.
    Additional information about Wild Turkeys in Iowa can be found here.

    Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 2004 (December). Wild Turkey restoration. (link)

    Iowa Department of Natural Resources. No date. Wild Turkeys [harvest and population status through 2004]. 48 pp. (link)

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