Expansion of the Eurasian Collared-Dove
| Expansion of
new bird has landed on the continent, and it might be coming to your neighborhood soon.
Birdwatchers in Florida and other parts of the Southeast may already be familiar with the
Eurasian Collared-Dove, but the rest of us ought to be on the lookout as well.
The story of the Eurasian Collared-Dove is captivating. A century ago, this species was found primarily on the Indian subcontinent, although its range extended slightly in Europe, in Turkey. In the early 1900s, however, the species began expanding its range significantly and by 1950 had reached the British Isles. Today, collared-doves are living above the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia.
Eurasian Collared-Doves were introduced into the Bahamas in the 1970s, and their populations soon expanded around these islands. What happened next was unclear. At some point in the 1980s, Eurasian Collared-Doves migrated, without assistance, from the Bahamas to Florida. And because they look much like the Ringed Turtle-Dove (below), the collared-doves started to spread unnoticed. It wasn't until the mid-1980s that ornithologists realized the suddenly prolific and quickly spreading "turtle-doves" they were watching were actually Eurasian Collared-Doves.
Citizen Science projects such as Project FeederWatch and the Christmas Bird Count provide the unique opportunity to monitor the invasion of a new bird species, such as the Eurasian Collared-Dove from its inception. Furthermore, with nearly 100 years of Christmas Bird Counts accessible in a relational database, we have an unprecedented ability to investigate long-term changes in bird populations. - Wesley M. Hochachka