Sunday, January 07, 2018

Urban Coopers

My theory about the New Cooper's hawks we deal with is that the population is an early incipient species, branching off by isolation in diet and other things in the manner described by Menno Schiltshuizen as a mechanism for SYMPATRIC speciation, something more conventional scientists deny exists (Shiltshuizen convinced Ernst Mayr)

Evidence? Their population has been winnowed twice, by Trichomonas and West Nile; they feed almost entirely on pigeons and doves, are incredibly aggressive, yet live in closer proximity to each other tha any other Accipiter.
That would bw enough for me, but Tim Gallagher and Lucas Macchais just sent me a paper from the American Ornithologists Union confirming my intuitions.In Albuquerque, they are not only thriving; they are "... forcing their rural neighbors out of their nest sites"--!!"

I expect to see more such phenomena, more ne and (initially?) crypto-species, in ths Brave New World of weeds and rapid evolution.

See also: Inheritors of the Earth, by Chris Thomas; Feral Future and Where Song Began, by Tim Low; Rambunctious Garden, by Emmma Marris; Suburdia, by John Marzluff.

Teach me code again, please!


Lucas Machias said...

The paper

The short version

Lucas Machias said...

On a side note, I have seen where hummingbirds use Cooper's nests as cover for theirs.

Steve Bodio said...

Lucas, i might have inadvertently deleted one of your comments.If so, send again.

Anonymous said...

As said in "Jurassic Park"(the original), "Nature finds a way....." OF COURSE there are all manner of increasing adaptions to urban/suburban sprawl in the animal and plant kingdoms. Although old wolf that I am, I am having had a harder time adapting myself! I do love to go out in human "developed" areas after a snowfall, and see evidence in tracks of the whole secret world that lives right under modern, urban humans' noses, that they are unaware of. If I point out such evidence to some, they are either amazed or doubtful as to my basic tracking skills, and sadly, "basic" is all it takes, but which very few moderns have anymore! And it always amazes ME, that until I point out the deer, coyote, or fox, or coon, or 'possum(etc. etc. etc.) tracks, no one else ever notices(sigh), even if it is on their porches or in their yards! Not only behavioral evolution, but GENETIC is occurring--one BLATANT example that is VERY politically incorrect to bring up to many conservationists(more's the pity), is the reinvention of the new "red wolves", which coincidentally(or NOT!), look amazingly like and fill a niche(but BETTER, and more cleverly!) than the "old bloodlines" of Red Wolves. This is a very taboo subject for the eugenic "purists" who wish to believe Red Wolves are/were a distinctive, unmixed species--which the most basic common sense and knowledge of wild canid behavior would tell one otherwise. These "Eastern Coyotes" with wolf DNA are an amazing subject for such a study--some scientists ARE, but most are not recognizing this unique opportunity to study how HYBRIDIZATION can quickly lead to new species as well as isolated, long term evolution--something long suspected by some scientists. Nature really does not give a hoot or a howl for human-centric eugenic notions. Nature will perpetuate WHAT WORKS!......L.B.

Retrieverman said...

Something very similar is going on with red foxes in England. Since the foxhunting ban has taken effect, there is no incentive whatsoever to protect foxes anywhere, so gamekeepers and countrymen shoot every fox they see. This has to have some effect on the fundamental natural history of these foxes, and at the same time, foxes are finding life absolutely wonderful in urban areas of the country.

This is where I found this information.

I have been toying around with it on a piece of speculative evolution.

We know that red foxes living at different elevations in Yellowstone have virtually no gene flow, and it may be that we are going to create something very similar with red foxes in England with regard to urban versus rural populations.

Rural ones will have ever reason to be more fearful of humanity, and urban ones will become more and more accustomed to relaxing near us.

Divisions between "species" like this ultimately just require a shutdown of gene flow, and rural foxes fearing humans and urban foxes will soon die if they wander into rural areas could be very good for shutting down gene flow.

Moro Rogers said...

Is there a separate population of original-type shy Coopers?
Also, we need a new cool name for them! Garden Hawks? Dove Hawks? (Think the first has a better ring to it, but I like the oxymoron of the second one...)