Bird #421 — Eurasian Collared-Dove

streptopelia decaocto

Saturday, December 24, 2005 — 9:33 a.m.

Conway, Arkansas — Sturgis Road

My most recent lifer, and what an exciting sighting it was. My family went to Conway, Arkansas for Christmas at my in-laws, arriving Friday the 23rd. My brother-in-law Tim asked me if I had plans for Monday. He didn’t have to work and wanted to do something exciting. That was the day I was planning on birding — I take one full day every time I’m down there. Tim isn’t a birder, and he also told me he thought a three-day deer hunting season was starting that day.

I got up Saturday morning and realized that nothing was going on family-wise. Shortly after 9:00, I hopped in my car and took off. It was raining, but i decided I’d rather get wet than shot at. I’d gone about three miles and was just approaching a major Conway intersection when I saw three doves perched on roadside wires in front of an office building. My first thought was Mourning Doves, but something didn’t seem right.

I made a quick U-turn and parked in a small lot across the street. The birds were Eurasion Collared-Doves, a species that has recently invaded the United States and is rapidly colonizing northward. They are seen occasionally in Illinois, but I’ve never made the effort to see them. I figured I’d find one eventually. And I did. You can see them on the wires in the top photo.

Anyway, I watched for about five minutes as the doves looked around, preened a bit and walked or flew short distances from one spot to another.

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