If you live just about anywhere in the United States other than the Northeastern corner, chances are there has been a sighting of the Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto).
I had seen this bird in other parts of the world but I didn’t know the local story until just this week. Generally, a “rare” sighting generates a lot of excitement and even non-birders will occasionally follow the story. Just look at all the buzz being created by the snowy owl in Central Park. However, there is little enthusiasm for the Eurasian Collared-Dove.
I was watching a Zoom lecture by Nick Lund of the Maine Audubon for the Boothbay Region Land Trust. Lund provided an overview of the state of birds in Maine. As you can imagine, the situation isn’t very good for most species.
The surprise for me was Lund’s discussion of the spread of the Eurasian Collared-Dove. These birds are not native to North America. Yet, since their first documented breeding in Florida in 1982, they have rapidly spread across the country.
They easily adapt to farmland, open pastures, and any place where they can get seeds. This includes any locations with birdfeeders. However, they don’t seem to be well adapted to extreme cold. With this in mind, you can envision why they spread so thoroughly through the south and midwestern portions of the country.
To get an idea of their territorial expansion, check out this link: Try out this link: https://feederwatch.org/blog/eurasian-collared-doves-conquering-america/
While this graphic is a bit dated, it still gives a good indication of the rate of movement of these birds. Imagine just how much more the population has grown since 2009!
Unfortunately, these birds are now seen as a nuisance species in some states. Because of their numbers, they may become aggressive at bird feeders. This may squeeze out other species. These birds may also carry a disease-causing parasite, Trichomonas gallinae. This could potentially pose a risk to other doves or perhaps even other bird species.