Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gilbert Water Ranch: Eurasian Collared-dove

Eurasian Collared-dove with Least Sandpiper
There were a lot of Eurasian Collared-doves at Gilbert Water Ranch.  A few years ago, I never saw a one there.  They just keep on expanding their range and getting more numerous.

Doves just drink so differently than other birds.  Other birds at my bird bath dip their beak in the water, lift their heads with bill pointed to the sky and swallow.  Well, doves dunk, suck, and slurp and can therefore drink much faster than other birds.

Gif Created on Make A Gif
Animated eBird map showing Eurasian Collared-dove Expansion from 2000 to 2010.  Data may be slightly skewed as eBird participation and therefore geographic coverage was increasing at about the same rate or faster than Eurasian Collared-doves.  The data shown on the maps is consistent with anecdotal evidence of expansion that I have read about and personally witnessed.

The chart below shows that eBirders are reporting EC-doves each year with greater frequency.  Interestingly enough, their detectability seems to follow a similar pattern each year with greatest numbers being reported in April and August.


  1. Wow the expansion is incredible but I guess you are happy to be able to see it ;-) Beautiful sequence of pictures Phil!

  2. Bob, If Collared Doves expand in the US like in the UK you will be knee deep in them in 10 years time.
    By the way, Bluethroat is a vagrant in the UK and unless you drop lucky, you will have to go into mainland Europe to see them but Goldfinch no prob. Cheers Phil

  3. Interesting to see the eBird data. Cool photos, we don't often see them knee deep in the water :-)

  4. Great photos! I like the one with the Sandpiper and the drinking one!

  5. @Chris - the expansion has been incredible and I have indeed been happy to see them. For what I understand, in spite of rapid expansion, they are not known to be invasive.

    @Phil - thanks for the tip on the bluethroat!

    @Gwendolen - thanks for visiting Birding is Fun! and for leaving a comment. I do enjoy eBird data and look forward to its influence on the coming generations.

    @dreamfalcon - amazing how they drink huh?

  6. Great photos and interesting details of the birds' expansion. I hope they are not displacing native species.

  7. None here in New England yet that I know of! Great shots!

  8. I saw my first-ever Eurasian Collared-dove in Florida last spring. I like their song, but I like our Mourning Dove's song a little better--probably because I have so many childhood memories of the doves calling at my grandma's house! Whenever I hear them sing I think of her...

  9. I did not know you had them "over there". It looks like that dove think it is a vader. :)

  10. I need to pay more attention and make sure the Mourning Doves I think I see are really Mourning Doves.

  11. @Mick - from what I can tell and from what I've read, EC Doves have a niche in between Mourning Doves and Rock Pigeons. Because they aren't cavity nesters, they really don't displace other birds. Perhaps their behavior may displace other birds, but I see them mingling in the same trees as other species.

    @Kathiesbirds If they aren't in your part of New England, they may be soon!

    @Kelly - when I was a kid I remember that call of the mourning dove which all my friends and I thought were owls until I actually saw one making the call. I used to imitate that mournful "whoo-OOOO-ooo ooo-ooo" and sometimes get a response...and that was before I was a "birder".

    @NatureFootstep - yep, we have 'em all right. Someone brought them to the Bahamas, they made it to Florida and after a couple decades started spreading like wild fire.

    @Mike B. - I'll be you have some EC Doves out Portland, Oregon way. They are larger than Mourning Doves, lighter in color, the tail is bigger and lot more flashy, and look for that black half-ring at the neck.

  12. Great post on the Eurasian Collared-Dove Robert. We see quite a few here in Shasta County. They are expanding rapidly, just like the European Starling.

    The easiest way for me to ID this dove, compared to the Mourning Dove, if it's perched, the tail is square, not pointed like the Mourning Dove.