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The Eurasian Collared-Dove, A Non-Indigenous Species
Not only are the European Starling and the House Sparrow non-indigenous, but we must add the Eurasian Collared-Dove to that list, as well. This large dove was introduced to the Bahama Islands in 1974 from the Eurasian continent. By the time that the end of the 1970’s rolled around, this bird had made it to Florida. It was common to see feeding in parks, backyard feeders, and small towns. By the time 2000 had come, the Collared-Dove was well-established, meandering up the Atlantic coast to North Carolina, across the Gulf to Texas, and up the Mississippi to Tennessee. There were records of it in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. Now, I believe it is a fixture in most states.
Oddly enough, it first bred in Great Britain in 1955 and within ten years, it was thought that there were probably at least 20,000 birds in the country. It is highly likely that the original colonists were further augmented by other birds.
The most distinguishing characteristic about the Eurasian Collared-Dove is that it has a black half-moon shape trimmed with white on the nape of the neck.
This bird is similar to other doves, a little less shy around people, and prefers to live around humanity. It continually coos hoo-HOOOOOO-hoo. It is generally a solitary bird, but also pairs and stays with family groups, but never becomes involved with large flocks. They will feed near homes, enjoying seed and grains. The dove feeds on farms, lawns, roadsides, and agricultural areas.
This monogamous and gentle dove is fairly common and still spreading. They are attracted to feeding stations, birdbaths, and garden pools.
Specifics on the Species
The male will display for the female and will also coo to her while perched on a roof, power lines, or in a tree. The nest is made from dry stalks and twigs, located in shrubs, trees, eaves of houses, and on balconies, about six to seven feet from the ground. The male collects the materials, and the female builds the nest. The young are fed and tended by both parents, and they can have up to six broods per year in Europe, as well as Florida.
The Eurasian Collared-Dove is non-migratory, weighs about five ounces, and it is impossible for us to tell male from female apart at first glance. Luckily, the birds can handle that!
All Their Own...
All birds in this family(pigeons and doves) have a rather unique way to feed their young. Both sexes produce what is called “pigeon’s milk.” During breeding season, cells that line their crops thicken and become filled with nutrients. These cells are then sloughed off, and regurgitated for the young.
Sounds of the Eurasian Collared-Dove
- Eurasian Collared-Dove calling - YouTube
The dove calls for a while until a cranky Western Wood-Pewee chases the dove from his perch.
My Experiences with Doves and Pigeons
When I did volunteer work for Tri-State Bird Rescue, I found that both pigeons and doves as youngsters were very sweet and friendly toward anyone that was willing to hold and cuddle them. They both had yellow pinfeathers and enjoyed putting their heads between one’s fingers and cooing while they did so. Even when they were put in the outdoor cages to acclimate to the outdoors, they used to climb onto my shoes. If they were on rope perches, they would also come as close as they could to where my head was. Then suddenly, they would reach that inevitable day where they were “grown up,” and wanted nothing more to do with people, even though they nuzzled the day before. They all must grow up sometime!