your help please! myna samples / info for research project

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Anna Santure
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your help please! myna samples / info for research project

Postby Anna Santure » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:13 pm

Kia ora!

My name is Anna Santure and I am a researcher at the University of Auckland. My group and I are very interested in, firstly, why common mynas ('Indian' mynas) have been such successful invaders globally, and also in understanding the establishment history of these invasive birds in New Zealand (mynas seem to have been introduced from Australia from around the 1870s onwards, but we aren't sure how many different Australian cities they were moved from). We are currently trying to obtain myna samples from across New Zealand so that we can use their genetic data to determine which populations are closely related and how mynas might be moving across the landscape.

I was wondering whether anyone in the BirdingNZ community is currently trapping myna birds, or would have some ideas of who might be in your neighbourhood? It would be just wonderful if you’d be happy to reply via this forum or directly via email (a.santure@auckland.ac.nz), we’d just love to have around 20 birds from as many locations as we can.

I've had some very generous offers from people to shoot mynas for me :) but it would be most straightforward from an animal ethics point of view if I could take mynas that were already being trapped as part of a control program, so that the use of the mynas for research was secondary. But please do get in touch if you'd be happy to help but are not currently trapping and we can discuss!

I'd also very much appreciate any of your thoughts on current myna movements - I am a little patchy on the exact edges of the distribution and it would be wonderful to have your thoughts, especially if you've seen mynas recently in locations you've not seen them before (the BirdingNZ forum discussions are a treasure trove here too, thank you to all past contributors!).

Nga mihi nui - with many thanks!
Anna
a.santure@auckland.ac.nz
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zarkov
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Re: your help please! myna samples / info for research project

Postby zarkov » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:06 pm

They feed on road kill insects in this country, so they're a species that benefits from our industrialization, rather than suffers the side effects.

Similarly, Plovers and Pukekos do well here as a consequence of increasing grasslands and pastures.

I'd say that's it really.
Anna Santure
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Re: your help please! myna samples / info for research project

Postby Anna Santure » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:13 pm

Thanks for your thoughts on myna's invasion success! The species indeed seems inherently adaptable and this is likely to explain much of its success globally. In NZ, it seems range limited by temperature, although this has not been formally tested to my knowledge.
Our group aims to focus on a "smaller problem" if you will, and use genetics to describe the population structure and whether mynas have been introduced from one or multiple sources, as overall genetic diversity can help predict whether mynas can evolve or whether they need to rely on their inherent 'adaptability'. So we'd love to hear from anyone that can help us (i) get some samples suitable for getting DNA from or (ii) tell us a little more about exactly where they are (or aren't!) in the North Island.
Thanks for your interest!
Joanna10
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Re: your help please! myna samples / info for research project

Postby Joanna10 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:58 pm

Hello
I presume you will have checked the eBird range map to get some answer to your question re the distribution of Common mynas:

https://ebird.org/newzealand
They appear to be moving southward here in the Lower North Island - as recent sightings in Martinborough were apparently unusual.
Anna Santure
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Re: your help please! myna samples / info for research project

Postby Anna Santure » Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:27 pm

Thank you so much Joanna - yes I have seen the eBird website, that's a fantastic resource, and great to drill down into for recent sightings :)

We're particularly keen to get samples from these recent 'invasion fronts', so if anyone has a current trapping effort and would be happy to collect samples for us, it would be fabulous to hear from you!

Nga mihi nui,
Anna
Ian Southey
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Re: your help please! myna samples / info for research project

Postby Ian Southey » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:40 pm

Just thought I'd point out that these are not invasion fronts. Historically mynas were much more widespread, including in the South Island, but were declining in the south while they were still spreading northwards. The edge of the current range might wobble around a bit but I think it has been more or less stable for many decades now. For a description of the range when it was still changing try these:

http://notornis.osnz.org.nz/system/file ... is_3_2.pdf - on p.57
http://notornis.osnz.org.nz/system/file ... is_4_4.pdf - on p.66

Ian
Anna Santure
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Re: your help please! myna samples / info for research project

Postby Anna Santure » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:36 pm

Those references are fantastic, thank you Ian! I have a copy of the 1948 manuscript, but had not realised that JM Cunningham had added to the records a few years later.
It was really interesting to read your thoughts too regarding the edge of the range "wobbling" rather than moving - I was under the impression from talking to colleagues that there may be some evidence that ranges have been expanding recently, but you are absolutely correct that it is hard to tell whether it is an expansion or a temporary blip. There has certainly been quite a large expansion of mynas into Northland since Cunningham's publications.
Nga mihi nui - with many thanks,
Anna
Clinton9
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Re: your help please! myna samples / info for research project

Postby Clinton9 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:49 pm

Dear Anna,
I would like to help you, but no dead birds sorry as freshly dead Indian mynas are very hard to get.

breeding season; Dec to March
Moulting season: Feb to June.
Becoming more common and spreading southward.
Varied diet, predominantly insects and fruits, plus pig foods
Do carry diseases from pig farms to pig farms.
High risk bird...they might oust native birds out of nest holes in trees.
Eggs, like starlings, but larger and more round.
Everywhere, roadsides, towns, farmland, beaches.

I had seen mynas catching and eating starling chicks, and in mid 1990s I watched a screaming juvenile myna being chased by a Australian magpie, which in turn been chased by a large flock of angry mynas. Mynas mobbed the magpie and flew after the magpie for 30 yards.
Black bases on yellow beaks, were absent during 1st autumn, arrived during 1st winter.

Often aggressive and I had seen mynas attacked Red-billed gulls and Australian magpies and mynas often got into fightings.

I do not have guns and gun license. sorry.

Clinton.
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mark ayre
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Re: your help please! myna samples / info for research project

Postby mark ayre » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:22 pm

I have noticed Mynas at Foxton town asi head down to estuary. lowest part of the north island i have seen them.

cheers Mark
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Michael Szabo
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Re: your help please! myna samples / info for research project

Postby Michael Szabo » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:27 pm

One was photographed today in Christchurch and the photo posted on the BirdingNZ Forum in the Bird Alerts section by John Stewart.

Jan Walker also sent a comment to me today: "A couple turned up at Lyttelton on a ship a while ago and were dispatched, if I remember correctly."

I have also been told of 2 sightings south of Foxton in the past few months, where there seems to be a small breeding group - these were in Otaki and Waikanae.

I was also recently told by someone else that: "I've seen a couple [of Mynas] hanging around the Masterton landfill in the pine tree hedge for a few years now".

Regarding prey, I have seen one taking a large stick Insect into a nest to feed its chicks with.

I have also been told that they will invade nest holes occupied by native birds and then build their own nest on top of the existing nest even if it has chicks in it.
'Birds New Zealand' Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/Birdsnewzealand/

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