June 27, 2006
Eurasian collared doves in Colorado
This summer we have been hearing Eurasian collared doves along the Arkansas River, so they have arrived in south-central Colorado. The call is a "coo-COO-cup" (or so David Sibley transliterates it), distinct from the mourning doves' calling.
I noticed them last May in Magdalena, New Mexico, where Steve Bodio said they had arrived a few years earlier on their transcontinental progress from the Bahamas, where they were accidentally introduced. Sibley's recent guide to Western birds had them in the very SE corner of Colorado, perhaps Baca, Prowers, and Las Animas counties.
Now they are higher up the Arkansas: Florence and Salida.
On hunting, the Colorado Division of Wildlife splits the difference. Whereas mourning doves (native) have a season and a bag limit, rock doves (a/k/a feral pigeons, introduced) have neither. Eurasian collared doves may be hunted during the September-October mourning dove season, but there is no bag or possession limit.
I thought that maybe I was just hearing them now because I had become more sensitized to doves other than mourning doves on the recent New Mexico-Arizona trip. But M. says that she never heard them down in Florence before this summer, and that she would have known had she heard them before.
White-winged doves, meanwhile, are not here in Colorado--I think. I was watching some Arizona white-winged doves when the snake bit me. So now I have a complicated set of mental associations: rattlesnakes and Stevie Nicks' Disco Era hit "Edge of Seventeen" with its chorus:
Just like the white-winged dove
Sings a song
Sounds like she's singing
whoo, baby...whoo...said whoo
Stevie Nicks grew up in Phoenix and presumably knew what a white-winged dove sounds like. Whether Lindsey Lohan, who recently covered the song, knows a white-winged dove from a bald eagle, I cannot say.