Eurasion collared dove: New species on the block

Not too many years ago, a different kind of bird began to show up in our yards. It was obviously some kind of dove, and many individuals wondered if it was a domestic pigeon or a large mourning dove.

But, after a careful observation, even the most amateur bird watcher would recognize the bird as a new species on the block.

Question: What is it?

The Sibley Guide to Birds, written and illustrated by David Allen Sibley (2000) gives us the answer.

This stranger is a Eurasian collared dove. It was introduced from Europe into extreme southeastern U.S. and is rapidly colonizing in North America. According to Sibley, this dove has not spread throughout the West, but it is now common in the Midwest and is observed by individuals from eastern New Mexico to North Dakota.

Eurasian collared doves seem not to be a nuisance. Pairs are often observed. During their reproductive phase, they emit a rather harsh, nasal vocal sound in flight, something like “krreeew.” At other times we hear a hooting, steadily repeated “coo COOO cup or a COO COO co.”

Now, what are the protective laws concerning Eurasian collared doves? They are protected by the state of New Mexico and can only be taken from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 with the possession of a small game license with required stamps. There is no bag limit.

Finally, on a personal note, my wife Marjorie and I truly enjoy watching Eurasian collared doves in our yard. When we discover droppings in unwanted areas, we apply two remedies: Shine a beam from a flashlight at the birds on their evening perch sites to encourage them to perch elsewhere and hose down the droppings. Our need for those procedures, however, has been rare.