by Dave Hanks
A rare bird report has been on IBLE (Idaho birders website) all this spring (2007). This same bird was described to me, in a telephone conversation, by a resident of southeast Burley. But “lo and behold”, the species had appeared in our yard. In fact a pair of Collared Doves has favored us with their presence since early spring. I assume that they must have a nest here. We have many and a great variety of trees. This species likes yards and conifers to nest in.
It is 13 inches long with a sandy gray body. The name is the result of a distinctive half collar on the back of its neck. A bit of white can be seen in their tail when taking flight. They are somewhat bigger than the Mourning Dove (which it associates with in our yard) and looks similar to the Ringed Turtle Dove (which it will hybridize with). A growling three note “Koo-KOO-kook” call is made while in flight. Both sexes look alike, and they will try to breed throughout the entire year. The producing of several broods annually has led to their rapid increase.
It’s an old world species that originated in India, spread across Europe, and was introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970s. The USA population is mainly in Florida but spreading. This bird has been tamed, and our population is the result of caged birds being released into the wild. When first appearing in England in 1963, it was protected and a boy was fined for shooting one. Protection was later raised, as the bird was becoming a pest – much like the European Starling that haunts farm yards in our area.
We were most surprised to look out our front window and suddenly realize that a new species, and an uncommon one at that, was utilizing our yard.