Eurasian collared doves are a bit bigger
I feed birds, mostly doves. The last two years there has been a pair that look like doves but are larger, with beige coloring and a black ring on the back of the neck. They seem to be a member of the dove family. Can you tell me what I am feeding?
— Ruth D., Medford.
Your guests are Eurasian collared doves, Ruth. They are non-native but quite common, and they bring an interesting history. Coming from the Middle East, they were introduced to the Bahamas about 40 years ago. They quickly made it to Florida, and have since spread with amazing speed all over the country except for the Northeast.
They are lighter colored than our mourning doves and an inch or so longer but almost twice the weight (7 ounces). Highly adaptable, they seem particularly fond of small towns. They feed on seeds, berries and bugs, usually on the ground.
You probably hear their voices, a deep, repeated kuk-kooooo-kuk and a raucous, nasal call note. Although invasive species are often a wildlife biologist's nightmare, these doves so far don't seem be having an adverse impact.
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