Photographic Proof that Muscovy Ducks Are Breeding in Jefferson Parish

Muscovy Duck with chicks

Lafreniere Park, Jefferson Parish, 2006-12-27

3 Responses to “Photographic Proof that Muscovy Ducks Are Breeding in Jefferson Parish”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    Was there substantial doubt of it?

  2. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    The Muscovy Duck is not officially recognized as a species in Louisiana, or pretty much anywhere else in the United States except for southern Texas, where wild South American birds occasionally show up. The Muscovies that occur in Louisiana, New York, Florida and elsewhere are the descendants of escaped domestic birds. They look a little different; but most, like the ones in this photograph, are reverting to wild plumage and size over the generations.

    Invasive species like Muscovy Duck, Rock Pigeon, and Monk Parakeet are not generally considered to be “countable” until 25 or so years have passed since the initial release; and there’s substantial evidence of a breeding, expanding, sustainable population.

    In practice, records committees tend to be very conservative about accepting birds like Muscovies and pigeons that are descended from domestic stock. Monk Parakeets are not accepted in Louisiana today, though they may be soon since the population survived Katrina. Rock Pigeons weren’t accepted anywhere in the U.S. until the 1970s, and there’s no doubt that they’re well established. Records committees are a lot more willing to accept birds like the Cattle Egret and the Eurasian Collared Dove that at least arguably arrive under their own power. (Those two are questionable, but at least there’s no clear evidence that humans introduced these species into the United States. The Cattle Egret may even have made it over to South America from Africa under its own power, though no one’s really sure.)

    There are also cases where an invasive has been accepted too soon, and then disappeared. The Florida Budgerigar population was allowed onto the state list when the population was in the tens of thousands. It has now been reduced to a few hundred and may well be extirpated in the state in the near future.

  3. John Cowan Says:

    Ah, I understand. But really, taking 300 years to recognize the Rock Pigeon as an established American species was ludicrous. Breeding population? Check. Expanding? Check. Stable? Hell, we can’t begin to even reduce the population when we want to.

    The Cajuns have much to answer for.

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