Which guideline to follow: escapes are/are not wild birds in inaturalist?

I commented on an American record of a -apparently ringed- Pied Crow (an African native) that, for the time being, should maybe be labelled ‘not wild’ because it wore a small white ring on the right leg. Interestingly I think a West-European Pied Crow may end up as an accepted wild bird.
US record: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/42439036
My dutch record: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36220466
(CDNA has not yet decided on the status in the Netherlands)

Someone else wrote that escapes are considered ‘wild’ in inaturalist.
He may well be right, I don’t know, I couldn’t find information on it (I have not been looking for longer than a few minutes, I admit).

What would you say is the general rule. I tend to follow my national guideline here: if the Dutch Rarities Committee (CDNA) considers something not a wild bird (in this case a bird) I would add ‘not wild’ to the record in inaturalist.
It would be a shame if national guidelines can’t be followed, I think.

Of course these rules are open for debate often and every now and then the judgment is altered. I think we should be flexible as they but
I don’t know what the effect of that is on the whole of inaturalist systematics.

your thoughts?
Hope to read from you

Check older posts, iNat has guidelines for that, if it’s not in captivity it’s wild, if its movements are not restricted by humans it is wild, being ringed doesn’t make it captive if it’s free and live as a wild bird.


Agreed, you should not try to apply listing rules to iNat records. Most ornithological records committees are using very different criteria for evaluating whether a record should be endorsed.

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for iNaturalist purposes, i.e. the recording of what organisms are there, I find it more useful to think of it in terms of “captive/not captive” rather than “wild/not wild”. if the bird is there, it’s there, regardless of how it got there. the presence of a free-flying bird is more important than its provenance, whereas for listing the opposite is true.


hm, i have been overlooking this info apparently, my apologies.
So to satisfy both needs I guess I should label them wild and if i want add a comment that the record is not accepted as a wild bird by the national birding authorities (or whatever else i want to add there)

thanks for that quick and clear info!



People also get confused between ‘wild’ and ‘native’.

I have a similar problem with a plant. I didn’t plant it, but clearly I brought the seeds in accidentally from field work and I allowed it to survive in a badly tended flower bed for years. Wild or cultivated?

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If there was no intention and now you’re not taking care of it then it’s wild.


Please see this discussion: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/options-for-the-best-way-to-handle-non-established-obs-e-g-escaped-released-pets/16684


I always try to think of Wild vs. Captive (Cultivated) as a description of the organism’s state, not its origin. How far in time and space away from captivity does it have to be? Ay, there’s the rub.

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