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View Diary: 2014 Backyard Science Yardbird Race Tally #2 (177 comments)

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  •  Islands are a special case; a closed system. (4+ / 0-)

    The native populations of prey and predator keep peaking and crashing. Since predators reproduce at a slower rate, there is always a lag time when everything appears balanced.  

    If you introduce coyotes to an island with a human population, they would quickly clear your rodent problem; but then, when there are no more juicy rabbits, they would be after your garbage. Now the coyotes are the pests and they'd be hunted. Coyotes crash, rabbits breed; you're back to wanting coyotes.

    Introducing predators to an area the size of Yellowstone is different then trying to balance an island ecosystem.

    And you know all this so I am just being pedantic. ;-)

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 07:31:33 AM PST

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    •  The dealbreakers on the island would be (4+ / 0-)

      1) pet cats, and 2) livestock, like lambs and chickens. Both farmers and suburbanites would be against coyotes. Interestingly none of these were here before white settlement, when there was a balance of predators/prey of some sort, by definition.

      But you're right, the landscape is too small in scope for stable populations. Not just size but diversity. We are missing a lot of the terrestrial wild animal species found nearby on the mainland, and every time a new species is introduced it throws things off. Just recently the introduced gray squirrels are appearing at my end of the island where I've never seen them before.

      •  Coyotes are never welcome around livestock. (3+ / 0-)

        So your island has more problems than just predator/prey balance.

        Gray squirrels - ugh. Entertaining, but they chase birds away from feeders and cause huge amounts of damage. They can destroy tree-nesting bird populations, too. My favorite sighting of a gray squirrel is one dangling out of a coyote's mouth.

        "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

        by Most Awesome Nana on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 09:53:58 AM PST

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