Just as I was ready to leave the house for birding this morning, something outside caught my eye. 3 Mourning Doves had just landed in a tree near the feeders and one was leucistic. It dropped down to one of the feeders and started eating seeds. What a nice surprise it was! After only a couple of minutes a Gray Squirrel dropped down to another feeder and flushed the 3 doves away. I found it interesting that Mourning Doves frequent the yard daily, usually 3-8 is common. I would assume they are typically the same birds, why would you think differently. I found out this is not true as this leucistic bird has never been seen here before. I hung around a while but the bird did not return. All images were shot through a window. Images were taken on December 29, 2018.
Mourning Dove, leucistic
With seed in the bill…
Comes down from the tree branch and looks at the feeder from above…
Takes a peek at the seed on the feeder…
Looks at all the good things to eat in the feeder…Interesting, one tan tail feather and one white tail feather!
What is Leucism? Leucism is an uncommon condition in birds. This condition is caused by a genetic mutation which prevents pigments, particularly melanin, from being deposited evenly in the bird’s feathers. Leucistic birds have melanin elsewhere in their bodies which is why they may have dark eyes, legs, and bills. However, their true color will be missing or greatly reduced due to the lack of proper pigmentation.
What is Albinism? Leucism is similar to albinism as in both cases the birds may be completely white. However, albinism is defined as a complete absence of melanin in an animal. Truly albino species will have pink eyes as the only color seen will be caused by blood vessels behind their eyes. They will also have pink bills, legs, and feet. Albinism is extremely rare in birds.
Notes: Leucistic birds are extremely uncommon for a number of reasons. They are not thought to live very long because their white feathers make it difficult for them to hide from predators. If they do stay alive, it is difficult for them to find a mate and successfully pass on their genetic mutation. Additionally, the melanin found in regular birds adds strength to the feathers. Leucistic birds lacking melanin have weaker feathers and thus have a more difficult time flying in severe weather. Last, the reflective properties of white feathers may be problematic for birds who rely on solar energy for heat.
After 6 years of birding, I have finally seen the Eurasian Collared-Dove in Burlington Wisconsin. I only looked for this species once actually in Arlington last fall and came up empty. Always thinking I would just come across one, but did not. It was a life bird and a fun one at that. I heard of this pair nesting in Burlington and after seeing Becky’s ebird yesterday, thank you, I thought I would give it a try. Almost immediately after arriving about 8 am at the location, I saw the pair perched in a high tree on a dead limb. From there the pair took some short flights in the area but perched in different locations. They stuck together for the most part and at times showed signs of “love” I would say. I did see in a tree at least one Eurasian Collared-Dove sitting on a nest. I would have taken a picture of this, but a couple feet from someones apartment window I choose not to. It would have not looked like much as the setting was very low light and branched. The location of this pair is on the west side of the Fox River and north of E. State St. at an apartment building. Images were taken on June 15, 2016.
Binomial name: Streptopelia decaocto
Category: Doves and Pigeons
Size: 13” long, 22” wing span
Weight: 7 oz
After birding the lakefront extensively in Milwaukee for almost 3 hours this morning I thought my birding for the day was over. Little did I know my birding for the day was going to continue with a lot of excitement. Returning home and checking my email was just the start. Tom P had just posted the very rare bird sighting, the Band-tailed Pigeon. This very large pigeon in size could be a 4th Wisconsin state record sighting! What makes this bird so rare is that it’s normal range is western California and 4 corners region of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado and also some far western parts of the Canadian coast. This location was near the town of Cuba City in Grant County. It was almost 1:30 pm, and with the 2 hour and 25 minute drive to the western part of the state south of Platteville to see this rare bird today even possible? I took the chance. Arriving at the private residence at 3:45 pm I walked up to the house area as there were many feeders in the yard, I was not sure where to exactly go. I saw no bird anywhere that looked like a possible pigeon. John came out and greeted me and said the bird had just been present for the last 5 hours, but that was 30 minutes ago. If you go to a rare bird sighting and the bird is not present, you get this feeling, if, why, where and wonder all sorts of things go through your mind. After 10-15 minutes, Jessica G and Paul showed up. All 4 of us looked at the feeder and no bird. John suggested someone walk some of his land that is loaded with pine and deciduous trees and I did. I walked about 5-10 minutes staying closer to the house. I thought in all these pines, this could be difficult! I returned to the gang and said I would go out looking farther but I wanted them to have my phone number in case the bird showed at the feeder and I was in the back 40. As we are swapping phone numbers, Jessica says “Hey, that looks like the bird over there, the bird we want”! It was, about 150′ away perched in a tree just waiting for us to put our bins and cameras on it. Pretty unbelievable how that happened! The bird stayed perched and we just kept a distance after about 5 minutes it took flight out west over the road and really had no clue as to where it went over the trees. After about 10 minutes I walked out on the road west of the house and it did a quick flyover to my surprise. I watched it fly off about 500′ across the road and landed in a hedge row. It remained there for the rest of our stay. John’s wife wanted to also see the bird as she just got home. Jessica set her scope up and then we all saw the bird. John is a very big birder and has a yard list of an incredible 144 species!!! John and his wife call their yard a bird oasis which also has a pond. Many thanks to John, for reporting this bird and sharing it with others! Thanks too, to the birders that got this bird sighting information put together and out on the web so others could see the uncommon visitor here to Wisconsin. John called me on the road 15 minutes after I left his place and said the pigeon had returned to the feeder it was at earlier in the day. Images were taken on March 26, 2015. What a fun time!
Binomial name: Columba fasciata
Category: Pigeons and Doves
Size: 14.5” long, 26” wing span
Weight: 13 oz
Normal Range: Western California and 4 corners region of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado and also some far western parts of the Canadian coast.
Sun was only out for a couple of seconds today, just enough show these beautiful colors
It hunkered down off in a distance when we left here 500′ from the road in a hedge row.
White collar up, blowing wind
Looking at you
An Inca Dove was found at Concordia University in Mequon Wisconsin. This bird was actually found by a instructor of ornithology at the campus taking one of his classes out for a morning bird walk. This bird hung around for awhile and was viewed by many birders state wide as being so rare for the state. The normal range for this bird is Texas, southern New Mexico and Arizona and Mexico. Images were taken on November 1, 2011.
Binomial name: Columbina inca
Category: Pigeons and Doves
Size: 8.25” long, 11” wing span
Weight: 1.6 oz