Monday, July 21, 2014

Eurasian Collared-Dove Arrives in New York City

It was only a matter of time before one showed in one of the 5 Boroughs and so on June 22nd, when David Ringer reported that he had found an apparent Eurasian Collared-Dove at the northwest corner of Pier 63 in Chelsea Manhattan, I was interested.  I was on the flats at Cupsogue Long Island, when the report came in and when I looked at the photos on my phone, I was not entirely sure.  A few inquires confirmed that Mr. Ringer's report should be considered a serious one, so I waited until I got home and looked at the photos again.  It looked good.  But I procrastinated, after all shorebird season was around the corner and I was busy with NPS (National Park Service) getting the East Pond ready.

Finally, last Thursday on my way to a lunch date, I made it out to Chelsea Waterside Park and after about an hour and 45 minutes, I found and then was able to study the Eurasian Collared-Dove for a while.  I first spotted the bird as I crossed the highway having decided that I had spent enough time looking.

I darted back across the highway to pick it up sitting in a London Plane Tree.  This is what it looked like looking at it from below. Note how the black in the outer web of the outside retrices extends well beyond the longest undertail covert in the Eurasian Collared-Dove? Ringed Turtle Dove,  has less of a black base to the tail feathers and this never extends beyond the longest undertail coverts. Note that juvenile Eurasian Collared-Dove does not have that much black and in some cases, the dark outer web is almost completely missing from the tail feathers. In these instances other field marks come into play when separating from other like species such as Ringed Turtle Dove.

The imminent Eurasian Collared-Doves invasion of the US began when some 50 birds escaped captivity in the Bahamas around 1974. Within ten years, the population had multiplied significantly to several thousands. By the mid-1980s, the Eurasian Collared-Dove showed up in Florida and from there, rapidly expanded its numbers and range. I think if this bird survives our winter, we could see more showing up in the other Boroughs.

Note the dark primaries, the pinkish tone to the breast and the neck collar. Bill Hubick Photography has a page with some good photos of Eurasian Collared-Doves and Ringed Turtle Doves. He points out some of the ID nuances in identifying EUCD. His page is worth a look, for those of you interested in learning ID pitfalls associated with Streptopelia Doves.

If you think it can't be hard identifying a Eurasian Collared-Dove in the field, check out this Streptopelia Dove that Steve Walter found and photographed at Alley Pond Park Environmental Center in Queens NY on July 10th. Steve and I concluded after some studying that this bird was not a Eurasian Collared-Dove, but looked more like an African Collared-Dove also known as Ringed Turtle Dove. Shortly after Steve's report, yet another Streptopelia dove was reported in Inwood Park Manhattan and several birders were eBirding this bird as a Eurasian Collared-Dove. It was only after one birder posted video footage and photos on Facebook, that a couple of sharp eyed birders called into question the ID. At this point, that bird, is suspected to be a Ringed Turtle Dove. I was hoping to acquire photos of the Inwood bird before going live with this report, but I may have to do an update if I get permission to use photos of the Inwood bird in this post. Hopefully, the photos here will help birders in identifying the next EUCD that shows up, which I would prefer to be in Queens.

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April Sherman Whitehead said...

I love seeing Eurasian collared doves, but they are fairly common in Southeast Texas. I used to call them "chicken doves" when I was little, since they are so large compared to mourning doves and white-winged doves.

I love your blog! I'm hoping to see many of the shorebirds once they head back this way.


Thanks April. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I know in PA, there are concerns about Eurasian Collared-Doves pushing out Mourning Doves, but I have not seen the data as yet to back up those fears.