Eurasian Collared Doves at Mortlach
- On June 04, 2001, a lady at Mortlach identified an Eurasian Collared Dove
roosting upon a birdhouse in her backyard after a day of strong
She carefully identified this bird, noting its nape markings, size and other
identification marks and subsequently researched its history on the
internet. She provided convincing details of her observations.
She mentioned that the bird was probably a male because it called regularly.
She also commented upon its wariness. This characteristic has been noted in
all previous sightings within Saskatchewan.
On July 22, another two birds joined the other single bird in her yard.
These two birds were obviously a pair as they were observed actively
courting and copulating. Both male's distinctive cooing sounds were heard
Two additional birds , possibly immatures !? were noted several days later.
They appeared slightly smaller with a less distinctive markings on their
nape. Were these birds offspring from an earlier nesting ??
All five birds remained within the yard until October 07 . On that date
,suddenly there were a total of seven birds in her backyard . Was this an
indication of another successful nesting? They all fed actively on the
ground for several hours.
After this date, she saw only four birds on several occasions. Currently,
she only has two remaining. They are being fed wheat.
Mortlach is located approximately 30 km west of Moose Jaw just off # 1
Moose Jaw is the site of another Eurasian Collared Dove sighting last Fall.
I saw that bird in late November. It apparently wintered and disappeared
from its usual haunts during late spring.
- So the plague has reached Saskatchewan!
The expansion of collared doves across Europe over the last 100 years is
probably one of the most successful avian conquests known--and unlike the
house sparrow and the starling it did it all by itself. They first
appeared in the UK in 1955 (not long after me).
Now they are everywhere. I have seen flocks of about 80 in stubble near my
home. A pair tried to nest in our local railway station only a few feet
above travellers' heads on a thin girder. So they are not unduly shy here.
Perhaps the sheer pressure of numbers has meant that they have no choice
but to be bold.
Our far more attractive turtle dove, on the other hand, with it's beautiful
purring song, is declining rapidly. I am fortunate in that I live near one
of the few reliable breeding sites in my county, Surrey.
Our local tawny owls are very vocal at the moment. Do your owls fight for
territory at this time of year?
Oxted, Surrey, UK
Many birds here have a "false courtship period" or "recrudescence"
associated with the autumn equinox on September 23.
The Hooded Mergansers are now if full display at Little Arm as they usually
are at this location each autumn. I have also heard both Great Horned Owls
and frogs a few weeks ago.