Sunday, November 30, 2008

White-winged Doves in Abundance

I looked out my dining room window earlier today to count birds for Project Feederwatch and had 22 white-winged doves. When I first moved to Wichita Falls, we rarely saw white-winged doves. A few years ago, Texas Parks and Wildlie asked Wild Bird Rescue to notify them any time we had a baby come in as there were few records of nesting in the area. Times have changed.

Both the white-winged dove and Eurasian collared dove populations have boomed in town over the past several years. They are by far the most numerous doves in town. They don't seem to care much for the rural life--mourning doves still predominate there. People who feed birds are beginning to get aggravated with the birds. Unlike other doves that feed on the ground on seed spilled by others from feeders, white-winged dove will land on the feeders themselves and stop other birds from eating. One would think that white-winged dove would be too big to sit on a tube feeder perch, but that is not the case--they are fairly agile for a large bird. And they love black-0il sunflower seed.

According to Bird of North American Online (one of my favorite internet sites), prior to 1980 white-winged doves were found primarily in the Rio Grande and since have expanded northward into Oklahoma (in fact, Wichita Falls is specifically listed as one of the expansion areas.)

They like pecan and live oak trees for nesting and usually have two broods a year (since they start in March and end in August/September in Wichita Falls, I would be surprised if some don't sneak in an extra one in this area, but I could not find any documented cases of that.)

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