Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Vermont's First

Since its introduction to the Bahamas in 1975 and appearance in Florida during the late 70s, the range of Eurasian Collared-Dove (ECDO) has steadily expanded westward through the Gulf Coast states and subesquently into the Southwest, Plains and Rocky Mountain states, and locations northwestward. By 2006 the species' distribution included about two-thirds of the land area occupied by the lower 48 and southern Saskatchewan (Alderfer 2006). For whatever reason the westward progression initially bypassed the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Great Lakes states. Massachusetts' first occurrence was in 2005. I have not been able to find out whether there are any accepted records for New Hampshire and Maine. If any readers of this blog know, please feel free to add a comment. Now being ECDO sightings come from across southern Canada it was only a matter of time before the species would make an appearance in Vermont.

Well, this apparently happened around mid November at a Norwich bird feeder with ECDO confirmation made the morning of November 25 by several local birders. The sighting was posted that day by Chris Rimmer and the news was out to the Vermont birding community.

Yesterday's high winds convinced me to postpone my visit until this morning arriving at the residence of John and Dianne Dunn at 8:20 a.m. No other birders were present, but within a couple minutes I was joined by Jim Mead and Dwight Carsgill from northern Vermont. Just as they walked up to where I was standing, I spotted the ECDO perched in a white birch at the opposite end of the Dunn's house. The bird was backlit by the morning sun and far enough away that we retrieved spotting scopes from our vehicles for better views. The bird obliged our viewing for only a few minutes before flying to the ground in a low lying area out of view. Soon after Hugh and Bunni Putnam of Springfield and another birder from Enfield, NH (failed to get his name) joined us. Several minutes later the ECDO reappeared and put on a good show and comparisons with accomapnying Mourning Doves (MODO).

The ECDO appeared to be somewhat unsettled with the human activity and tended to keep distance from us despite the nearby presence of feeders. Even though it kept "company" with several MODOs, it seemed to maintain some separation and even showed what I interpret to be mild aggressive behavior toward them.

Below are a couple digiscoped images of the Norwich ECDO. The bottom photo shows the underside of the tail: broad buff-gray terminal band, undertail coverts, and hint of the black tail base.


Alderfer, J., editor. 2006. Complete Birds of North America. National Geographic Society, Washington, D. C.

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