Bird of the Week

Photo courtesy Charles Martinez

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the Eurasian collared dove.
Human intervention has aided the dispersal of many non-native bird species and the Eurasian collared dove is one of them. Native to Europe and Asia, in the mid-1970s, a few escaped from a pet store in the Bahamas. By the 1980s, this dove had spread to Florida and within three decades it has come to call most of North America home. The availability of backyard bird feeders for food, and tree planting which provides roosting and nesting sites, has inadvertently led to an increase in numbers of these urban birds.
Although their nests may only contain one or two eggs, in warmer climates, these birds raise up to six broods per year.
This medium-sized dove is larger and chunkier than the similar mourning dove. Colored pale gray with a brownish wash on the back, the collared dove is named for the black band that rings its nape. Its tail is long, broad and squared off.
The Eurasian collared dove bobs its head and flicks its tail as it walks on the ground foraging for seed and the occasional insect. A relative newcomer on the North American scene, like house sparrows and starlings, it has adapted well and can be found in Pagosa year-round. To date, the spread of Eurasian collared doves has not been shown to have a negative impact on native bird species.
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