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Albuquerque Innsights

Former New Mexico innkeeper knows secrets and tells anyone who will listen.

Doves in Albuquerque – Changes are Happening!

When I first moved into our present Albuquerque home 28 years ago I brought with me a love of birds and birdwatching that I got from my mom. She used to rescue hurt or orphaned birds, rehab them and then release them. We always had a bird feeder right outside the kitchen window and she taught me who was who in the bird world. That was a long time ago in a different land, (New Jersey). Birding in Albuquerque is very different.

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Our neighborhood here in Albuquerque has a more than fair variety of feathered creatures, and with a irrigation ditch fifty feet behind our house and an orchard of various fruits next door our yard was prime for birdwatching. We put up feeders and got binoculars. At this time, (in the mid to late 1980s), the only dove you ever saw in this neighborhood was the Mourning Dove, and there were lots of them. My husband can call them in with this whistle he does with his hands, and he’s really good at it. That is, when we had Mourning Doves.

white wing dove

White-winged Dove

Some time around 1999-2001 we began seeing White-winged Doves in the winter time. They were usually seen year round in the southern part of New Mexico, and since there is a hunting season for them down there we used to kid around that these winter doves were just scouts looking for a new locale where there was no hunting. I think we may have been right. After a few seasons of winter visits the White-winged doves stayed. There were only a few at first, and now on same days the feeder has become Hitchcock-esque. And they told their cousins too, I’m sure of it.

Eurasian Collared Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove

Enter the¬†Eurasian Collared Dove. At first we only saw one at the feeder, and it was hanging with the White-wings. After a while I was sure they were mixing it up a bit too, (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and I am nearly positive we are seeing hybrids along with a whole lot of the real McCoys.

Whatever the reason, we hadn’t seen Mourning Doves much after the bigger doves showed up. The Mourning Doves are not as aggressive at the feeder, but we are seeing and hearing more of them this season. I hope they stay. And I wish the Eurasians and White-wings would find another hangout, because they are really BIG poopers and we’re tired of them “decorating” our yard.

The Mourning Doves here are a little darker tawny grey-brown color than the other two, and have a pointed tail. There are dark spots on back of wings, and sometimes a tear shaped mark well below their eyes under their cheeks is visable. You can hear low, quick whistle sound when they fly off, and this sound is made from their wings, not their vocal chords.

The White-winged Doves are a heftier bird, have the white showing on the shoulder of their wings.¬† They have a tear-shaped dark mark under the cheeks. Their tail is more squared off, not pointed at all. They coo in a different cadence that the Mourning Doves, and it’s not as pretty to me. They also make a cawing sound like a stereotypical crow sound, but not as loud.

The Eurasian Collared Dove cousins are definitely an introduced species to the Americas, and their numbers are growing. They are usually paler in color than the other two, but with all the fraternization going on in this neighborhood, you see some darker ones sometimes. They have a distinctive dark collar that goes almost all the way around the neck sometimes, not quite meeting in the front. Tail is not pointed.

What kind of doves do you have in your neck of the woods? Or city? Our bed and breakfast, Adobe Nido in Albuquerque, is just 2.5 miles from Downtown and Old Town, yet we’ve got birds, and lots of them! We’re also just over 2 miles east of the fabulous Rio Grande Nature Center, where the birdwatching in Albuquerque is GRANDE!

I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!

3 Responses to “Doves in Albuquerque – Changes are Happening!”

  1. Dee Rightley says:

    Just moved back to Alb. for the winter as I live in Jemez Mountains. Started putting wild bird seed out right away and was glad you could identify the White-Winged and the Eurasian collared for me. I couldn’t find them in my bird book. They are surely beautiful. I have mourning doves up there, but not here. I’m at 8700′ in Jemez. I don’t mind the birds leavings as the yard is nothing but rocks. They also have a bird bath here and are very much taking advantage, though more of the smaller birds are using it. Have a bird that looks like a pine siskin, but is too large, and has a dark head. Any idea what that could be?
    Thanks for your help.

    • adobenido says:

      I’m glad you are back in NM, and enjoying the wildlife. I am not that up on my birds in the Jemez, but I would look at the Sibley Guide to Birds of North America. It isn’t my favorite Guidebook format, but it does seem to be more up-to-date about what we see in America than the usual guides. That is where I found the Collared Dove. The Lesser Goldfinch immature male will often look like a Pine Siskin, but they are usually smaller. There are a lot of sparrows, grosbeaks, buntings and towhees in the mountains that I am unfamiliar with. Spotted Towhee youths look a lot like other streaked finches in their first year. The Black-headed Grosbeak too. Enjoy the birds!

  2. Patricia Coleman says:

    Hi Sarah, This is a very neat blog. Thanks. One day, Steve and I will get out to visit. The Balloon Fiesta must be cool! We have been to the one in Quechee, Vermont. Regards, Patty Coleman, Iselin, NJ

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copyright 2009 :: sarah dolk, adobe nido bed and breakfast, albuquerque nm :: photos by susan see, abq, nm & marianne groszko, mariannephotography.net