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An Unusual Bird Spotted.

June 17, 2011

Two days ago I was at the Prairie Oaks Metro Park on the border of Franklin and Madison Counties.  I took so many pictures that I exhausted the spare set of batteries for my camera!  There was a lot to take pictures of, and in typical nature photography style, I need to take many pictures to end up with a few good ones.  I’m still learning as I go along, so bear with me 🙂

At 8 AM, on a fairly narrow strip of land between one of the lakes and Big Darby Creek, I saw an unusual bird partially hidden in a tree.  At first I thought it may have been a cuckoo, but under closer inspection, it looked like a large dove.  It gave a call that sounded different than any bird I have heard before.

As always, you can click on images for a better look.

This bird seemed to be disturbed by me walking by on the path.  It took off and flew to a prominent leafless tree further away from me, where it kept an eye on my actions.  Note that it has  squared-off tail feathers, unlike the pointed tail of a Mourning Dove.  And this bird looks like no Rock Dove (pigeon) that I’ve ever seen.

Around its neck was a partial collar pattern, and its lower undertail coverts were white (and just above that, black).  I believe this bird is a Eurasian Collared-Dove, introduced to North America via the Bahamas (and as an escaped pet) in the last few decades.

This bird can be mistaken for the Ringed Turtle-Dove, a domesticated species with feral populations living in the southern United States.  I had the impression that this bird was definitely bigger than a Mourning Dove (particularly when it was flying), and since the Ringed Turtle-Dove is the size of a Mourning Dove,  I believe this bird to be a Eurasian Collared-Dove.

Since I just started birding once again after a long break, I’m not terribly familiar with how common this species is presently in Ohio.  It’s the first one I’ve seen.  I found a Columbus Dispatch article (authored by notable birder Jim Fry) about them from 2007.  If you are interested in this bird, the article is worth reading:

Eurasian collared dove has made late entrance onto Ohio landscape

(Columbus Dispatch, Sunday,  August 5, 2007)

So, if you think you’ll never see an unusual sight while strolling around a park, think again!  It can happen.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. keekeepod permalink
    June 17, 2011 11:07 pm

    Next time I see a Mourning Dove, I’ll try to take a closer look to see if it is actually a Mourning Dove.
    As for unusual birds, one lives somewhere just behind my backyard. I have not had a good look at it. It sits in the shrubs and “talks” constantly. I’ve never heard chattering like this before.

  2. June 18, 2011 11:45 am

    Very interesting. I’ll have to take a closer look at our doves.

  3. June 19, 2011 8:35 am

    Good detective work! I like how the pictures line up making it look like a continuous tree.

  4. June 22, 2011 8:47 am

    As a bird-lover living in the UK, I think I can confirm that this is a collared dove, which is very common in Europe! When I first moved here, I kept thinking they were mourning doves, as that was the only dove I knew. But the call is very different, I think that’s the best way to ID it. But it very much looks like a collared dove, I see them everyday in the chestnut trees where I live! Great spot, didn’t know they had been introduced to N America. Definitely would be interesting to know how many there are, and if they affect the local wildlife in any way!

  5. June 23, 2011 6:31 pm

    Thanks for the comments everyone- the Eurasian Collared-Dove is rather rare in Ohio (at least as far as confirmed sightings go). A knowledgeable local birder who is involved with Birding On The Net’s Ohio listserv verified this sighting for me.

    Funny how you never expect to see an unusual bird after seeing thousands of typical ones. You just never know, which keeps things interesting 🙂

  6. August 4, 2011 8:15 pm

    Tracy I was reading some of your past postings and came across the one concerning the Eurasian-collared Dove. My first one for my life list was the one I spotted this year while I was on vacation with my family at Disney World. We were walking down Main Street going away from the castle when I noticed a larger than normal dove light on a on a light post 20 feet away from me. I carried my binoculars during my stay, and I’m glad I did. I was able to positively ID the bird. Thanks again for the post, it was fun to read.

    • August 4, 2011 10:56 pm

      Excellent that you had your binoculars, Les- if I wouldn’t have had a camera along, I may have ended up doubting what I saw, since they are rare in central Ohio. Every time I walk by that area, I hope to see it again- but so far, no such luck. I know others have been looking for it as well.

      Thanks for the comment!

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