White-crowned Pigeon at Ding Darling NWR, on the Shell Mound Trail, when sun came out.
This afternoon we saw a White-crowned Pigeon on the Shell Mound Trail at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. This is a very unusual bird for here, although there have been a very few sightings previously on Sanibel. Their status is listed as Threatened in FL. They live in the very southern tip of FL. Research has indicated that the total distribution of this bird occurs in the Caribbean Basin, the Bahamas and extreme southern Florida, but they make long over-water flights between breeding and wintering areas within this region. They are threatened due to loss of habitat and hunting and poaching in their range. White-crowned Pigeons feed mainly on fruits of hardwood trees and they are an important dispersal agent for these trees. It was nice to see this bird on the Shell Mound trail, which had a lot of fruiting hardwood trees, thus providing the type of habitat crucial for this bird species. What a special bird for us to see!!