Know what the bird in this photo, snapped from my parents’ back windows, is?
If you’re a birder you probably do: it’s a Eurasian Collared Dove, or ECD. For anyone not familiar with the history of this bird in North America, it was introduced in the Bahamas in the 1970s, made it to Florida by 1982, and has since been spreading steadily across the continent. Before my parents moved to Arizona, the only place I’d actually seen these buggers was in the Florida Keys, their original point of entry into the U.S.
My parents moved to Arizona about three years ago, and moved into their current neighborhood last summer. Mourning Doves, White-winged Doves, Inca Doves, and Rock Pigeons are all common here, but for a long time I hadn’t seen any Eurasian Collared Doves – of course, I wasn’t exactly going out of my way to find them. Then I came for a visit last December, took a walk, and suddenly started seeing them everywhere. The question is, were they here all along, and I somehow hadn’t noticed them until them? Or did they move into this particular neighborhood sometime between last August (the last time I’d been here) and December? The world may never know.
It’s worth noting that this particular neighborhood is also home to large flocks of Peach-faced Lovebirds, which started (presumably) as escapees from cages and now have established quite a population in this area. They’re so cute it’s hard to dislike them, even though they are non-native. You can read more about Peach-faced Lovebirds in Arizona here.
Ah well. There are plenty of cool native birds that show up regularly in my parents’ yard too, like Gambel’s Quails, Abert’s Towhees, Curve-billed Thrashers, and Cactus Wrens. Plus the orange trees are blooming at the moment… so every time you walk outside and inhale you smell that heady orange-blossom scent. Yum.