[Tweeters] Increase of Eurasian Collared-Dove on N. Olympic Peninsula

B Boekelheide bboek at olympus.net
Mon Jun 3 23:08:40 PDT 2013

Hello, Tweeters,

Yesterday (6/2/13) I completed my Breeding Bird Survey with Terry Martin assisting. The route starts on the east side of Port Angeles, snakes through back roads between Port Angeles and Sequim, and finishes part way up Palo Alto Road east of Sequim, traversing farmland, broken forests, housing developments, and the margins of Sequim.

Nothing particularly earth-shattering about the results for most species. It was a very good year for tanagers and Yellow Warblers, both of which still appear to be migrating through, singing as they go.

But what was most remarkable is the increase of Eurasian Collared-Doves, showing how ubiquitous this species has become around here. Only one other species, Am. Robin, occurred at more stops than Collared-Doves. For comparison, Robin occurred at 41 out of 50 stops, Collared-Doves at 26 stops, White-crowned Sparrow and Am. Goldfinch at 24 stops, crow at 22 stops, Spotted Towhee at 21 stops, Savannah Sparrow at 20 stops, and Song Sparrow at 18 stops. In abundance, Collared-Doves were outnumbered by only 7 species out of the 68 species recorded.

What's really remarkable is how quickly this has happened. The very first Collared-Dove was recorded in Clallam County in 2004, but we didn't have continuous sightings here until 2006. I didn't record them on my Breeding Bird Survey until 2009. Here's how Collared-Dove numbers have increased since first recorded on this BBS:
2009: 4 doves at 2 stops
2010: 12 doves at 8 stops
2011: 8 doves at 5 stops
2012: 40 doves at 23 stops
2013: 45 doves at 26 stops

Through this time period Mourning Dove numbers have remained relatively stable, about where they have been during the last 10 years, with 10 birds seen at 7 stops this year.

It seems incredible that in 5 to 10 years Collared-Doves have expanded to become one of the most abundant, visible, and audible members of the avifauna in human-occupied areas of the north Olympic Peninsula. But despite their increase, I see no real evidence that they are impacting other species -- what about elsewhere?

Bob Boekelheide

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