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Eurasian Collared-Doves' Sense of Direction

Why do they favor northwest movement?

The Eurasian Collared-Dove is rapidly increasing across the US and southern Canada. This sandy pink bird with the neat black neckband was released in the Bahamas in the 1960s. Brought in as pets, some doves escaped. They made it to Florida a few years later and have been spreading in a generally west-northwest direction ever since. Today, true to their inner compass, collared-doves appear poised to conquer another territory — Alaska. From the starting point of the Bahamas, that’s about as far northwest as it gets.

Support for BirdNote comes from Skagit Valley Tourism, a Pacific Northwest winter haven for swans, geese, raptors, and more. Info on the Birds of Winter Experience at VisitSkagit.org.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®
Eurasian Collared-Doves’ Sense of Direction
Written by Rick Wright

This is BirdNote.

The Eurasian Collared-Dove is rapidly increasing across the US and southern Canada. But not in every direction. [Collared-dove song 13886]

This sandy pink bird with the neat black neckband was released in the Bahamas in the 1960s. Brought in as pets, some doves escaped when their enclosures were destroyed in a storm. They made it to the Florida mainland a few years later and have been spreading ever since. But in a generally west-northwest direction. [Collared-dove song 13886]

Now, collared-doves are more common on the coasts of British Columbia than they are in some areas closer to where they started out. Yet no one knows why they keep so strictly to this northwest bearing. In Europe, too, they’ve been pushing northwest, starting in the Balkans, reaching Britain by the 1950s, and even on to the Faroe islands and Iceland. All this before they managed to make the much shorter step from the Balkans south into Africa.    

Now, true to their inner compass, collared-doves appear poised to conquer another territory…Alaska. From their starting point of the Bahamas, that’s about as far northwest as it gets.

There’s more to the story, and pictures, at BirdNote.org. I’m Mary McCann. 

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by M. Iliff.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org    November 2018   Narrator: Mary McCann
ID#  EUCD-03-2015-11-20           EUCD-03

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