I am presuming that Hector's "recognizable form" criteria would mean that
juncos would be seven "forms" instead of two and that one No. flicker would
be 2 - just to pick a couple which come readily to mind.
But then, how are the interbreeders between "forms" going to be dealt with -
with an asterisk noting them as "crosses" perhaps.
Since many listers are keeping track of their subspecies now, in the event
of a "split" someday, why not do it now, be done with it, and let us have
20, 30, or 100 new life birds?
While I think I agree with Hector, how long will it be before "recognizable
form" becomes a point of argument. Committees need a reason to meet after
all. And each new committee is, by definition, smarter than the one before.
South Newfane, VT
Tails of Birding - www.tailsofbirding.net
----- Original Message -----
From: "hector galbraith" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 6:37 PM
Subject: spam: [VTBIRD] teal taxonomics
>I think that Allan's posting is timely and prompts me to expand a little
> on why I think that the relationship between ABA and AOU is less than
> optimal. As long as birders continue to base their sport/hobby/whatever
> on AOU pronouncements about what is a "species" and what isn't we will
> be in a constant state of flux and chaos. The main reason for this is
> that the very concept of "species" is an attempt by humans to impose on
> nature arbitrary and artificial categories. Nature is constantly
> bursting out of the nice neat pigeonholes that we construct for her. If
> gene flow is so important, we really only have one species of Anas duck,
> since they all interbreed with each other at the drop of a hat (ducks
> have sex lives that would be considered shocking in most polite
> So, one generation of birders considers the various forms of juncos to
> be "species"; the next generation considers them races; the next - it is
> species again, and so on ad infinitum at the whims of the taxonomists.
> So, I would argue that the question - is A.c.crecca a real species -
> is, for birders, really quite meaningless, since we cannot agree on a
> definition of "species". Lets get real - in my opinion it is high time
> that we stopped basing our bird lists on the doubtful concept of
> "species" and switched over to something like "recognizable forms". In
> such a system euro and north american teal would be separated. Who cares
> if they are "species" or not, or to what extent their genotypes differ?
> If they are distinguishable in the field they deserve our attention.
> Hector Galbraith PhD
> Galbraith Environmental Sciences LLC
> 837 Camp Arden Rd., Dummerston, VT05301
> 802 258 4836 (phone)