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New Species on Manu Road - Kill Bill Tanager

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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 10:56   #1
Edward woodwood
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New Species on Manu Road - Kill Bill Tanager

Was fortunate enought to see Barry Walker's pix of the new tanager from Manu Road at BBWF.

The road is an amazing birding area. From 3,500m to sea level. It has over 1,000 species and is heavily watched (for Peru). About four years ago Dan Lane encountered a striking yellow tanager on the road near the Cock of the Rock Lodge. He took descriptions and showed them round over the next few years. The bird was seen again in exactly the same place some time later and Barry and Co went to try and locate it. They found and trapped one in the exact same place and took it as a specimen. No further individuals have been seen and it has only been seen in this one location.

To find a new species in one of the most heavily watched areas of Peru is testimony to this amazing country. This species is a bright yellow tanager somewhat akin to Uma Thurman's get up in Kill Bill, hence the nickname of the bird. What else is waiting there to be discovered.

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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 13:25   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
They found and trapped one in the exact same place and took it as a specimen.
Good grief, I thought we'd evolved beyond this stage.
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 13:29   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetail
Good grief, I thought we'd evolved beyond this stage.
Jason,
Unfortunately, you must collect at least one just to describe it and propose the recognition of a possible new species. Necessary also for the genetics workup to figure out intragroup relationships and taxonomical collocation.
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 13:31   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
Was fortunate enought to see Barry Walker's pix of the new tanager from Manu Road at BBWF.


Tim
Tim,
Had had a whiff about this one as well as Dan Lane's and I think they're still kind of hush-hush. Would appreciate it if you ever see a web-pic that you give me a heads-up on it.

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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 13:35   #5
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Nice, cosy little euphremism, "collect", isn't it? It's not necessary to kill a bird to get its DNA and I don't see why photographs and descriptions (including measurements) can't do for the visual bits.
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 14:08   #6
Edward woodwood
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Hi Jason

It's only been seen three times in entirety
looks like being
unfortunately birds are killed when 'collected' for the reasons Steve gives above. Photos can be misrepresentative to say the least and when we are talking about a new species it's important to be extremely thourough. If the population is though to be extremely low then a case could be made for not killing the individual. This species could in fact be 'rare'. There is a lot of habitat there but the lack of sightings suggests something a little strange. Maybe it is just being overlooked.

'Collecting' does raise people's ire - but after all birds, other animals and people are suffering much more in Peru and elsewhere in the world even as we speak, and we eat meat and wear leather etc etc.... In the grand scheme of things this ranks very low and is being done for all the right reasons. No government (and probably NGOs too) will invest time and money into something that hasn't been 'proved' to be an extant full species.

atb
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 14:14   #7
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Hope it doesn't turn out to be the sole surviving specimen of it's species.

I can understand the reasoning for collecting a specimen and hope that that single specimen is enough without the need to collect more for other interested parties.

Is there a law (written or unwritten) or something dictating who collects specimens and how many can be taken? I mean a taxidermist could pretend to collect a specimen for research purposes.

(Thread Deviation Alert!?)
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 14:15   #8
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This example apart, I would have thought that a colour photograph taken with a colour and size scale, a feather and a blood sample would be enough to count as a specimen now
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 14:17   #9
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How do they "collect" them?

I guess a lot of scientists could simply bore them to death, but I'm sure they use a less efficient method! :)

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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 14:23   #10
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with your shoota!!!

seriously it's shooting - the Kill Bill Tanager was shot i'm fairly sure

here's some infoon the whys and hows of trapping etc from John Van Remsen (et al) - who incidentally has done a lot of work in the area under discussion http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET/Guide...collecting.htm

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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 14:27   #11
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Seriously? They shoot them?

How can that be an accurate way of preserving them if they are missing bits and covered in blood? I would have thought that they trapped them and then ether'd them?

They must be a good shot these sciencey types! Where do you have to aim for? What if you missed and blew the little f***ers head off?
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 14:33   #12
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Tommo, there are different methods employed depending on the bird.......lots of info in that link.

type of shot used is i expect dependant on the bird's size so as not to obliterate it.

mist netting then pressing the chest (eeew!) when foliage is a bit dense for a good shot to be had......or large numbers are involved.

bet they have a laugh when they get the guns out and start blasting....rightly or wrongly!

btw Tom, you're right - there were a few uneasy jokes yesterday along the lines of ****** hell - let's hope it's not the only one!!!
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 16:06   #13
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A bit disappointing that the Kill Bill Tanager couldn't protect itself from bullets with some wicked kung fu moves. Now I'm hoping someone will discover a tanager that looks like Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction.
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 16:26   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
If the population is though to be extremely low then a case could be made for not killing the individual.
Pardon me, but if you've just found a new species that's never been seen before how do you know whether the population is high or low? Do people who discover new species usually find them in flocks, or do they undertake a full census before killing the type specimen? Must say I hadn't got that impression... Like Andrew says, let's hope the tanager wasn't the last surviving one! Perhaps we should rename it the Killed Bill Tanager.
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Which having heard, I'll do the like for thee.

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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 16:56   #15
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Hi Jason - yes it's a dilemma. But the people involved are very experienced and all committed conservationists. I trust their judgements.

South American avian taxonomy is complex.
assumptions can be made on habitat type and bird though - a new cinclodes in ridge top polylepis would not be killed!!! However, a tanager on Manu Road is a different kettle of fish.

impossible to do any kind of Census in the area - especially when one has only ever been seen, in one location. Manu Road has some incredible drop offs - you don't want to walk near the edge never mind abseil down to count birds!

no-one will know what it is until a specimen is taken, analysed and deposited in a museum. If others are found in other areas there may be slight plumage diffs that photos won't show well. Given the amount of habitat available i can't envisage a problem. It may occur at low densities or be at the periphery of it's range, having a stronghold in another unvisited area.

I expect though that it will turn out to be quite a 'common' bird somewhere in that amazing area of South-east Peru.

tim
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 17:01   #16
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Tim, thanks. I have to accept the judgement of those who understand these things, but I'm still uncomfortable with it.
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Come doleful owl, the messenger of woe,
Melancholy's bird, companion of Despair,
Sorrow's best friend and Mirth's professed foe
The chief discourser that delights sad Care.
O come, poor owl, and tell thy woes to me.
Which having heard, I'll do the like for thee.

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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 17:02   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
here's some infoon the whys and hows of trapping etc from John Van Remsen (et al) - who incidentally has done a lot of work in the area under discussion http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET/Guide...collecting.htm
Thanks for posting that link.
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 17:08   #18
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yes, there's something that sits uncomfortably about killing anything - and i guess that's the way it should be.....
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 17:10   #19
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So, according to the link:
Information obtained from these specimens enables accurate identification of species and understanding of evolutionary relationships, genetics of wild populations, population structure and dynamics, comparative anatomy and physiology, adaptation, behavior, parasites and diseases, economic importance, geographic and microhabitat distributions, and ecology of birds in natural or disturbed habitats (AOU 1975). Knowledge from ornithology promotes knowledge in other biological sciences and affects policies concerning game and non-game species, endangered species, economically important species, habitat conservation, ecosystem analysis, pest and disease control, predator control, and domestication.

For how many of these is it essential for the bird to be dead?
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Come doleful owl, the messenger of woe,
Melancholy's bird, companion of Despair,
Sorrow's best friend and Mirth's professed foe
The chief discourser that delights sad Care.
O come, poor owl, and tell thy woes to me.
Which having heard, I'll do the like for thee.

(Anon c.1607)
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 17:16   #20
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Comparative anatomy and Physiology... unless you have a portable NMR imaging device!
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 17:21   #21
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 21:27   #22
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I like the name Kill Bill Tanager and I hope it is kept.

As for a headline in any learned paper, the tilte should be Kill Bill Tanager Killed

Its scientific name could be Tangara mortus billae!
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 22:09   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuckooroller
Jason,
Unfortunately, you must collect at least one just to describe it and propose the recognition of a possible new species. Necessary also for the genetics workup to figure out intragroup relationships and taxonomical collocation.
Not true.
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 22:14   #24
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tell us a bit more there Chris......

i'm not sure exactly what current best practice is myself.

Any new species in last ten years NOT been 'specimened' ?
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Old Sunday 22nd August 2004, 22:22   #25
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Alright, the one I know about was Bulo Burti Boubou found in Somalia in 1989 (E.F.G.Smith et al). The short version of the tale is: Unidentified shrike sp. seen in the field, mist metted, DNA taken, identified as a new species and released back into the wild. Alright, it's not the last ten years (not sure why this would be relevant).
I have the Ibis paper around here somewhere, if you PM me with your address, I'll send you a copy.
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Last edited by CJW : Sunday 22nd August 2004 at 22:31. Reason: Got the year wrong!
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