Date: 7/5/18 2:28 pm From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...> Subject: [texbirds] Re: Eurasian collared dove population crash?
My counting is somewhat scientific. Back when the neighborhood had lots of
collared doves and they were sort of new I posted numbers of displaying
males here. The collareds are not neighborhood birds but nest exclusively
in the oak trees planted along westheimer and voss for apts, shopping
centers and the city. I have not had one at my feed 2 blocks away for years
and then only 1 or 2.
None were flooded by Ike or Harvey nor did they get damaged by the wind in
either storm or the nearby tornado in between. They did the drought fine as
they are all sprinkled. They grew a little and some were trimmed a little
away from wires but essentially no change.
Inca doves left my feeder and oak tree they roosted in about when the
white-wing dove numbers escalated. They hung around across the parking lot
where they were fed on a balcony. White-wings would not eat there and some
mourning. My platform feeder can hold about 21 white-wings at a time and
more when they stack up 2 deep eventually pushing birds on the edge over
the edge. Some mourning doves dive into the scrum as do the scaly-breasted
Smith Point lost trees in Ike, mainly pines but most oaks made it as it
drained fairly soon. The best spot for collared where about 50 birds lived
had the same sort of scattered oaks next to houses like westheimer that did
not go down in Ike or the drought.
Port Bolivar where I did monthly bird counts for more than a year after Ike
lost most of its larger trees but the collareds actually increased. I still
did "sort of counts" as it had been one of my favorite birding areas and in
some fallouts even better than High Island and less crowed especially in
the fall. Habitat has improved since the year after Ike but not a whole lot
but the doves made a big turn up and now down. Rock doves have greatly
increased in the last two years and may out eat the collared. White-winged
doves are starting to get a foothold; they were there pre-Ike but not in
All 3 areas have lots of hawks as migrants and smith point does have a pair
or so of nesting cooper's hawks. I have a pair at the house that just
fledged 4 chicks today and the old standard pair is off to the west having
moved with Harvey repairs across the bayou. they fledged young a few weeks
ago that have stopped by to eat. Bolivar had a single harrier that lingered
and went through town but I have seen no cooper's.
As mentioned, I have a feeder but no collareds before or after the
population change. Smith point had 1 feeder that sometimes had food and did
have a couple pairs of doves. But my favorite spot had 50 without a feeder.
Port Bolivar had 2 sporadic feeders that got doves of various sorts but
only had food a couple of days a week if that. An no feeders that I have
found for maybe 7 or 8 years. Many of the smith point collareds seemed to
migrate across the bay early in the am in August with the white-wings.
However, staying late showed they were flighting across the bay to the
grain elevators and returning a little before sunset as one big flock. We
stopped seeing flights before I stopped seeing collareds.
We may actually have white-wings nesting in the neighborhood for the first
time this summer but I have to do more walking. Always had calling males
that give up in mid July but females never responded. The old soil maps
showed my neighborhood as big thicket compared to several types to the
south, east and west that were loved by doves and corresponded best to some
of the soil types in south texas where they came from. And a fledgling
white-wing was the first young of the year bird on my balcony and did not
come from miles away.
On Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 1:19 PM, Brush Freeman <brushfreeman...>
> It seems to me Inca Doves are one of the easiest of our native birds for
> cats to catch as I have seen them drop one by one at our Wilco Co. place to
> feral cats (White-wingeds too)....We went from 9-10 Incas last fall to a
> single bird now. I found most of the piles of feathers....It has almost
> made us stop feeding birds. Don't have this problem at the Bastrop Co.
> place but then feral cats are pretty rare there due to coyotes and
> bobcats....At least I rarely get one on any of the critter cams.
> On Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 12:35 PM, Thomas Kihn <thomaskihn...> wrote:
>> I just moved from northern Grimes County on June 1. Now I am in Baytown,
>> so nothing to say about my new location. However, on the ranch were I
>> lived for 5 and a half years until last month I can say that I used to
>> (before this summer) see 4 or 5 of these birds at or around my feeder. But
>> in mid-May this year the numbers jumped to 10 to 12! Maybe just a local
>> Concerning other doves, this spring is the first time I had Mourning
>> Doves come to the feeder. They were always common on the ranch, but always
>> away from the buildings. Inca Dove completely disappeared about a year
>> ago. One Common Ground-Dove came to the feeder on rare occasions over the
>> time I lived there, none in the last year.
>> This data is based upon casual viewing from my kitchen window but the
>> numbers always indicate total birds seen at one time (no totals over the
>> day of multiple visits by one bird).
>> Now that I am in Baytown, I hope to visit the Baytown Nature Center
>> Tom Kihn
>> On Thursday, July 5, 2018 11:14 AM, David Sarkozi <david...>
>> I would also caution the use of anecdotal memory as a baseline for
>> comparison, we don't tend to remember negative observations as much as
>> positive in my experience. As an example I was compiling the sighting board
>> checklist for Anahuac NWR. I used the 100 most reported birds from eBird by
>> highest percentage of reports by month, i,e, I used the month with the
>> highest percentage of reports to rank the top 100. American Bittern did not
>> make the cut, it's highest month was only 25%. I had a fellow volunteer
>> differ with my analysis saying her sa the bird almost every visit in
>> season. I asked him to count the number of visits in a row he saw the bird
>> to prove me wrong. After 4 negative visits he conceded the point.
>> Our memories of how often we see a bird are often very flawed, unless we
>> are counting we don't recall the negatives very well, just the positives.
>> On Wed, Jul 4, 2018 at 8:59 AM, Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
>> > wrote:
>> A couple of years ago I sort of noticed that there were not as many
>> collared doves around the smith point area. Did not see them crossing the
>> bay and places that had large numbers had fewer. Last summer there were
>> fewer but Harvey had something to do with it but did start checking other
>> spots. Numbers on Bolivar were down too as well as around the house.
>> This summer actually went and censused.
>> A few years ago I could see 10-15 male doves do their courtship flight
>> over voss and westheimer when I stopped at the red light. This year I see
>> none. The several pairs at the grocery store are gone except for one pair
>> and none have come by the feeder.
>> Numbers are down maybe 90% on bolivar based on general impressions rather
>> than ticked off numbers.
>> Had trouble finding more than single pairs at smith point Monday with
>> none at some points that used to have lots
>> This population drop has occurred over 3 summers in places where I go and
>> sort of count birds every week or at least very often year round. So it is
>> not just a local event.
>> Has anyone noted similar trends elsewhere. Similar population drops have
>> affected other invasive species after an initial great spurt in numbers as
>> predators and parasites bring the newcomer into control.
>> The changes at home have not affected the mourning dove and white-winged
>> dove numbers; if anything they are both up. Rock pigeons numbers are up
>> significantly on Bolivar in the same places that I noted collared dove
>> population decreases. And those two species do not compete for nesting
>> sites but perhaps for food.
>> Joseph C. Kennedy
>> on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston
>> David Sarkozi
>> Houston, TX
>> (713) 412-4409 twitter ID dsarkozi
> Brush Freeman
> <http://www.biospatialsevices.com> > Utley & Cedar Park, Texas
Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston