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Parrots and the Theory of Co-Evolution

Spreads for web 4

AFA 2014 Convention Abstract/Paper
By Tom Marshall

Co-evolution: The simultaneous evolution of adaptations in two or more populations that interact so closely that each is a strong selective force on the other.

Conservationists are suspicious of aviculturists (bird breeders) who claim their practice of aviculture is a form of conservation.  Animal rights' groups insist the keeping of birds in captivity and any form of importation for the purpose of breeding them for the ‘pet trade’ is exploitation of wildlife, and that caged birds are an anathema to the humane and enlightened among us.

Bird breeders welcome the challenge of breeding difficult species, at least once, often because of the recognition and credibility it fosters, however, they frequently concentrate on breeding high-priced ‘status birds’ or low cost, mass-produced ‘entry-level’ pet birds for the pet store chains.  Some breeders encourage hybrids, but most do not, and there are your breeders, whose fascination with genetics and colour mutations amaze us with their selective breeding results.  Fortunately, there are also those breeders, who see the value on many fronts in specialising in a species of avian life, so it does not disappear from aviculture and can act as a bulwark for the species in the wild.

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