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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Spanish Bird of the Week #5: Eurasian Collared Dove

By James

The Eurasian Collared Dove has become an invasive species throughout large portions of the United States, and is rapidly expanding its range throughout the country. While it isn’t yet affecting the local Mourning Dove populations, there are just so many of them they’re becoming a starling-level pest at bird feeders and county parks. Though I first glimpsed them in southern California, I was lucky enough to see Eurasian Collared Doves in Spain – but let me tell you, they’re just as annoying in their native land.

Even though they’re supposed to be there, no bird would so constantly infuriate me as these birds did. I was lucky enough to get a pretty awesome picture of this shockingly common bird around two weeks into my stay, meaning I had no reason to pursue them and try for a better look. This sort of thing happens often enough. I no longer try to get pictures of cardinals, chickadees or towhees, but I don’t hate this birds. I actually enjoy watching towhees do that odd jump to clear foliage while they look for food. I like seeing chickadees swoop in and grab food off the feeders in my yard, and I still love seeing the crimson flashes of a male cardinal. No, I don’t hate the Eurasian Collared Dove because it’s common. In fact, it’s because of how they fly.

Photo by lostinfog via Flickr.

As the doves came in for landings, they’d spread their tails and wings, soaring and circling, much like a raptor. I always hope that they were Common Kestrels or maybe some small kite. However, once I got a picture and saw one of the abundantly enumerable doves, I found myself muttering curses at the bird under my breath. Thankfully I no longer I have to deal with these raptor imitators, though there presence in coastal North Carolina suggests that within a few years we may be seeing these nuisances throughout the Piedmont. Not looking forward to seeing them again, but hopefully I now have enough experience that, like Roger Daltry and The Who I… won’t get fooled again.


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