- Minnesota Breeding Bird Distribution
- Breeding Habitat
- Population Abundance
- Literature Cited
Originally native to Eurasia, the Eurasian Collared-Dove is a recently introduced exotic species in North America. In Minnesota it is a regular breeding resident and winter resident primarily in southern and western Minnesota, although its range is continuing to expand northward. The Eurasian Collared-Dove was an uncommon species during the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (MNBBA).
Broadly distributed across the western, central, and southern United States, the Eurasian Collared-Dove is largely absent from the Great Lakes region, New England, and the mid-Atlantic and north-central states, south to the coast of North Carolina and west to Indiana. The dove is most abundant in the Central Plains; scattered pockets of high breeding densities are found in southern California, northwestern Texas, and western Nebraska (Figure 1).
As an introduced species, the Eurasian Collared-Dove is not a conservation concern in Minnesota. Its impact on native species, as populations continue to expand, remains uncertain.
A ground forager that feeds primarily on seeds as well as some insects and berries.
A stick platform usually placed within a tree or shrub but sometimes found on man-made structures.
An Old World species, the Eurasian Collared-Dove made its first appearance in the United States in Florida in 1986 (Smith and Kale 1986). It was only 12 years later when the first bird was observed in Minnesota, in the spring of 1998 in Big Stone County (Eckert 1998). During the next 2 years, confirmed and well-documented reports were submitted from other southwestern counties, including Lyon, Martin, Mower, Pipestone, and Rock, as well as one record farther north, in Kandiyohi County (Svingen and Kinstler 2002). Several of the reports were of multiple birds (2–4). Then in 2001, the first documented nesting report came from a municipal park in the town of Caledonia in Houston County (Svingen and Kinstler 2002). That same year, 1 bird was reported as far north as Roseau County. Enough reports continued to accumulate over the next few years that in 2004 the official Records Committee of the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union changed the statewide status of the Eurasian Collared-Dove from Accidental to Regular (Eckert 2004).
The MNBBA documented 133 Eurasian Collared-Dove records in 2.1% (99/4,751) of the atlas blocks that were sampled and in 2.5% (58/2,337) of the priority blocks. Breeding was confirmed in 11 blocks (Figures 2 and 3; Table 1). The species was most abundant in the southern half of the state, with scattered records as far north as Polk County in the northwest and Itasca County in the northeast.
The story of the Eurasian-Collared Dove is an all too familiar account of the introduction of an exotic species. Oftentimes our knowledge of how a species was introduced is sketchy and speculative. But in the case of the Collared-Dove, a very detailed account was documented by P. William Smith in 1987. The original stock was acquired by a pet store owner in the Bahamas. Interested in acquiring Ringed Turtle-Doves, he instead received an allotment of Eurasian Collared-Doves, known in Europe as Indian Ring-necks.
Unfortunately, in 1974, a few years after receiving his new acquisition, the Bahama breeder’s aviary was burglarized, and several doves escaped. The owner decided to simply release the remaining birds and abandon his original plans to establish a local breeding stock for his pet shop. The number of doves released is unknown but likely was less than 50.
Smith (1987) believed these released birds were the main source of the current North American population. Following their arrival in Florida, the dove’s range rapidly expanded across the United States. Figures 4 and 5 illustrate how the species’ distribution has changed in the past 30 years; Figure 4 illustrates eBird data compiled from 1986, when the species was first documented in Florida, to the year 2000; Figure 5 illustrates eBird data compiled from 2001 to 2016 (eBird 2016). Clearly the species rapidly expanded northward in just 15 years; reports were even documented as far north as southern Alaska. Dispersal to the northwest is characteristic of the species’ general movements. Although most of the expansion is presumed to have originated from wild birds dispersing northward from Florida, some caged birds also have been released in other localities.
*Note that the definition of confirmed nesting of a species is different for Breeding Bird Atlas projects, including the definition used by the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas, compared with a more restrictive definition used by the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union. For details see the Data Methods Section.