Saturday, September 02, 2006

When Does a 'Domestic' Bird become a 'Feral' Bird

John & Shirley Tongue write: We've managed to add Turkey, Pheasant and even Peafowl to our Tasmanian Bird list, especially on King Island, where they all run wild. However, we've also seen wild-run Peacocks on Mainland Tassie, and heard of Pheasant here in places, too. In lots of places we've seen geese, but NOT counted them, because they were so close to farm houses that they were obviously 'domestic'. Likewise with domestic chickens. But when does 'Domestic' become truly 'Feral'? We have seen truly feral chickens on Flinders Island, and so too, we think, today (Thursday). On a very productive day out birding--which has us planning to organise a Tasmanian 'Twitchathon', but more about that in future postings--we came across these two "chooks" apparently living wild. They were at the second last of the car parks for Calvert's Beach, South Arm. They were a long way from the nearest human habitation, and had taken up residence in the coastal wattle. They were pretty wary of human approach, but had figured out how to work the system, for as soon as people left their cars, they came roaming around looking for scraps to eat. Initially, we thought that there was only the rooster, but then found the hen as well. Presumably, if they find enough water, and get enough scraps and other pickings, they could well nest in under the wattle, and then we'll have our own little population of "Feral Chooks".

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