Wednesday, December 16, 2009
You never know what might show up. In birding, that's a good thing to frequently remind yourself of.
There's a White-winged Dove in Massachusetts, found Dec. 14th, near the entry to Old Sturbridge Village and still seen yesterday. Photos of the bird can be found here.
White-winged Doves are mainly a southern species and can be found year round across the country in the southern tier of states but seem to be increasing their range. There are records of them turning up elsewhere in the country, mainly on the East Coast all the way up to the Maritime Provinces.
This dove is similar in size to a Mourning Dove, and has big white wing patches, which appear as a white line along the edge of the closed wing, as in my photo above. I photographed this bird in FL. Note also the longer bill and blue area around the red eye (the juvenile has a dark eye). Mourning Doves have shorter bills, a dark eye surrounded by a smaller amount of blue, black spots on the wing, and a longer tail.
So, next time (as in the Christmas Bird Counts occurring now) you're looking at a Mourning Dove, check it carefully. Who knows, it could be a White-winged Dove.
Chance favors the prepared mind, (or birder).