On the wings of a dove

“I am an amateur birder,” Astorian Scott Lee wrote, “and have been seeing this pilgrim (pictured) at our feeder, and started doing some research and what I discovered is very interesting and worthy of loyal readers of the Ear.”

It’s a Eurasian collared dove, not to be confused with the Mourning Dove, and Scott is right, as according to AllAboutBirds.org (http://tinyurl.com/euradoves), it has an intriguing history.

The bird was originally a pet, not native to North America at all. In the mid-1970s, a pet store in the Bahamas was robbed, and several of the doves escaped. Then the shop owner, for whatever reason, released the rest of them, a flock of about 50. In a completely separate event, several other Eurasian collared doves were set free on the island of Guadeloupe, in the West Indies, when a volcanic eruption seemed imminent.

The escapees made their way north, and started appearing in Florida in the 1980s. Soon they began spreading all over the U.S. (except the Northeast), and have now made their way to the Pacific Northwest, where, if you keep an eye out, one can be found at a bird feeder near you.

— Elleda Wilson

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