Over the past weekend, I felt a strong urge to go to California. So we got into our car and drove. I had mapped out this trip a couple months in advance. The purpose? To find the wild and feral populations of exotic birds that have spread throughout the Southern California region. While we were there, we would also study the rare California Gnatcatchers that lived in the preserve by our nearby hotel.
Before I begin with this incredible bird list, I'd like to clarify a birding rule of mine. In the United States, we have a very important organization known as the ABA or the American Birding Association. While I do not always follow their rules, I do understand them. They are the organization that tells birders which birds "count" and which ones "don't". Over the years, invasive non-native species(to the US) like the House Sparrow, Monk Parakeet, Rock Pigeon, European Starling, Eurasion collared dove, Muscovy Duck, Rosy-faced Lovebird and many others have been added onto the lists and now "count" for birders. But ONLY if you go to the areas where they "count". For example, you can only count a Rosy-faced Lovebird in Maricopa County, Arizona. There are strict birders who only bird according to the ABA list. Anything off that list is not worthy of their effort nor time. And while that's certainly one way of looking at the birding world, it isn't necessarily mine.
My criteria for "counting" a bird is a bit different. If the bird is not an escapee and has proven to breed and thrive in numbers, I will count it. Surprisingly, all of the birds featured today are countable in several areas around the US while others may join the list soon. As a side note, ABA allows for the Spotted Dove to still be counted around the Los Angeles area while it appears that much of their population has almost disappeared! I found one recent report around the LA area. So what happens when these feral birds have a fallout? Do they also fall off the ABA list?
|Northern Red Bishop|
|Indian Peafowl....for now|
Birds are amazing creatures and I hope you enjoyed this inner city world travel. Southern California is a strange place to bird. It's saturated with buildings and people but if you look hard in between the cracks, you'll discover some hidden gems.
I'll have more next week for you all on the native Californian species that we observed around Orange County and San Diego. Until next time......
For more about other amazing birds from around the world, check out Wild Bird Wednesday!