Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Una Paloma

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Even though it's a non-native invader of our fair land, I have to admit that the Eurasian collared-dove is a good-looking bird.

This species first came to our hemisphere via the Bahamas in the 1970s. Now it's found throughout the South and great flocks can be found around town grain elevators in the Great Plains. It is universally considered one of the most successful colonisers of all birds—easily spreading itself across Europe, Asia, and as far north as the Arctic Circle. And it is non-migratory, so you know it's one tough bird!

I found a small flock of EC doves in Lon C. Hill Park across the street from the Harlingen, Texas community auditorium where the Rio Grande Birding Festival was being held. When I first started taking birding trips to South Texas, the Eurasian collared-dove was not present. Now they are fairly easy to add to the day's bird list in any of the Rio Grande Valley's towns.


On November 12, 2008 at 8:08 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

Moltalicious little ECDO's. I wonder if they are so successful because they occupy an urban niche that isn't already filled. They're so tolerant of human structures and activity, and as vegetarians have to share their space only with starlings, which have an insect food base, and house sparrows (insect and seed food base). It would be so interesting to see how they fit around the rock pigeons' niche, where they both occur together.

On November 13, 2008 at 2:31 PM Anonymous said...

I wonder if it would be possible that one of these big, burly bruisers of the Columbidae world could ever appear in Whipple, Ohio?

Al Wilson

On November 13, 2008 at 4:28 PM Kathi said...


Re your comments that ECDO's "occupy an urban niche that isn't already filled..." Wouldn't these birds compete with Mourning Doves for the same habitat, food source, etc., or are MODO's not found in the same location as EU. collared doves? And, what about White-winged Doves? Not doubting your expertise, just a kurious Kat.

(Bill: Sorry for usurping your comments section to question JZ, but that's what you get for marrying a Science Chimp.)


On November 13, 2008 at 6:11 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

First, Al Wilson, I know who you are, I can find out where you live, and I am going to reclaim that painting back to its rightful owner one fine day.

Your style is distinctive, as unmistakable as a Eurasian collared-dove flying by a birdwatching tower.

Katdoc, I don't think that ECDO and MODO overlap that much in niche. ECDO's tend to be quite urban; modos need field and forest and trees for nesting. Same with WWDO; they aren't quite as comfortable around people and their structures as are ECDO's. Having said that, I'm sure there's some overlap, and that's part of what's fascinating about new birds coming into an apparent vacuum. It might turn out not to be a vacuum after all, and some native species might suffer.

Just thinking out loud on this.

On November 20, 2008 at 8:58 PM Granny Fran said...

The novelty rapidly gets old with these interlopers. They are constantly adding to their species and outnumbering, as well as out squawking, my beloved Mourning Doves here in SE Colorado. I worry about the impact they will have on our native doves; will they shove them out of our small town or, heaven forbid, will they begin interbreeding? First there weren't any and now they swarm everywhere! Al, in Ohio, you can have as many of the ones in my neighborhood as you want, just feel free to come get them.