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.