Do They Belong?Read Now
Just today I was birding with my friend Steve in New Orleans and while we had no car, we birded a local spot that was a bit captivating.....This was a rather large lake and like in all areas of Louisiana, it contains sections of water.
So in this one particular section we started off with some nice locals such as the Mississippi Kite and tossed in various herons and egrets. We walked around for a few hours and then decided to be 'old men' ....act like old men are, and just sit on the park bench and watch the world go by. But not so much the world but more facing the water and allowing the birds to come to us. You see, we already had in our 10,000 steps by this time, so 'park em here' and watch.
Old men talk....yes, we do. As we sat there we watched one white Domestic Duck chase off a pair of mallards. He would chase them both, then peal off for the female until she flew, then chased the male. They would land 20 yards down the lake and again, he would do the same. This carried on until he chased them off the lake inwards to dry land.
Then a Canada goose......Lazy...peaceful. Canada geese seem to have it made in the sun. All of sudden though Steve looked up and wondered, 'hey, what type of goose is that".... Being we only had one pair of bins with us, I grabbed them from Steve and attempted to ID but couldn't. It was a goose but...what type? In my eyesight, the Canada jumped on top of the other 'unknown' and the unknown went under water. Far under water..... it appeared about 10 yards away and immediately the chase was up again. A day for chasers. But after all, this is New Orleans and what day is not a good day without some sort of 'chaser' to wash it all down with.
So this 'unknown'.....headed 'that-a way'....the Canada met up with two more of its kind and chased the unknown out of the immediate premises. Gone...done. No more...Except in the minds of us humans.
What type of Goose was that? We looked it up and eventually concluded it was a GreyLag Goose and it appears to be pretty much Europe and Asia. You got to be kidding me.... But yes, that is what it appeared to be as this unknown goose found itself to New Orleans for a chase. The more we 'googled' the more we found that it is either a vagrant GreyLag Goose or some local gray domesticated Goose. According to eBird, it is labeled officially as a Greylag Domestic. Now, what is a DOMESTIC?
That let us to do more pondering. A domestic is like a domestic duck and one that lives on a farm or the like. This Graylag was not domesticated and obviously came from someplace. It just happened to be here in NOLA. So who or why is it labeled domesticated. If anything it should be a feral Graylag goose since it isn't domestic. What is domestic? It is homebound. This Graylag was not homebound for it was out in the wild. A Feral Goose? What is that? A feral is a domestic that has been let out and is now living in the wild. When does a Feral turn 'wild?" How long does it have to be feral or better yet, how many generations of a particular bird do they have to have before it turns from Feral to Wild?
For instance....a feral pigeon? Now, I have been birding for how many years and how many generations of feral pigeons have come in gone in that timeframe? And yet, they are still labeled 'feral?' When, after countless generations does this bird officially become 'wild?"
So given that, I suppose that poor Graylag Domestic has little chance of moving from being categorized from Domestic to Feral to Wild. Forever Domesticate.