collared dove.jpg

March 19, 2017


A pair of lovely collared doves was ground-feeding below our bird feeder a few days ago. I knew from speaking with my son Eric that they are considered “bad” birds in Utah. He said that anyone could legally kill these birds at any time. When I looked up the subject, I found articles on how to cook them “Better than chicken” as well as other articles saying they weren’t that dangerous to native species. Some people hate the cry of the dove (“like someone gagging”). But we have heard only nice, cooing sounds this spring. From another article:


“No species of bird has colonized North America at the speed with which the Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) has marched across the continent. First found nesting just south of Miami, Florida, in 1982, this non-native dove has rapidly adapted to human-altered environments from Florida to Alaska. ”


In other words, this bird can inhabit urban sites and can live successfully in harsh climates. We have large ravens constantly patrolling our neighborhood. They watch for robins or sparrow to nest, then eat the eggs when the parents leave—or even when they are protecting the young. But these collared doves may be large enough to put up a fight.


Yet they are illegal aliens. To many people, they are not supposed to be here competing for food and nesting areas with indigenous birds. I am sad that our original native prairies and forests have been overrun by many species that people have brought into our land. Thistles and meadow salsify infest our local meadows. Tree frogs and lynx are rapidly becoming extinct. And the worst intruder, of course, is mankind. Think of what we did with our diseases and weapons to the Amerinds when Europeans settled the Americas.


Just who belongs and who doesn’t?  Is a wolf an enemy or a friend to nature? Yellowstone’s animals thrive when predators keep the food chain healthy. But ranchers need their livestock. Huge farms grow food that nourishes us, but they also waste the soil and spread chemicals into it that show up in the food.


We have some Mexican workers here who do not speak English yet. Are they legally here? They are hard workers. We like them. How are these people the wrong people? When we become friends, they belong. When we see their crimes on TV we conclude that they shouldn’t be here.


I’m not asking Eric to come over and kill our doves. To us they just as welcome and admired as anybird else since they had the stamina and adaptability to get here. Indigenous or not, I don’t think the wildlife authorities can kill enough of them or build a cage large enough to keep them out. PMA