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Help monitor Eurasian Collared-Dove nests with NestWatch

June 13, 2013

Over the past 30 years, the non-native Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) has spread across North America.  Since it was first discovered nesting near Miami, Florida in 1982, it has rapidly spread northwestward and can now be found as far away as Alaska.  Project FeederWatch has been a crucial source of information on the spread of this species, and now our sister project NestWatch needs your help so that we can learn more about the nesting biology of Eurasian Collared-Doves in North America.  NestWatch is a citizen science project in which volunteers find and monitor bird nests so that scientists can study status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds, including when nesting occurs, number of eggs laid, how many eggs hatch, and how many hatchlings survive.  By reporting information on nesting Eurasian Collared-Doves, you can help us better understand why this species has been such a successful colonizer.

Eurasian Collared-Dove by FeederWatcher Patricia Jones-Mestas of Parker, CO.

Eurasian Collared-Dove by FeederWatcher Patricia Jones-Mestas of Parker, CO.

Eurasian Collared-Doves live in urban and suburban areas throughout much of the United States and southern Canada except for the northeast.  They also can be found in rural areas, such as farms, where grain is readily available.  These doves avoid areas that have heavy forest cover or extremely cold temperatures.  They are a bit larger than Mourning Doves but slimmer than Rock Pigeons, and have a characteristic narrow black crescent around the nape of their necks.  Eurasian Collared-Doves build a simple platform nest, consisting of twigs, grasses, roots, and sometimes feathers, wool, string, and other materials.  Pairs of doves often use the same nest for multiple broods during the year.  In warmer regions, Eurasian Collared-Doves can nest year-round.  Nests are usually located in trees or on buildings at a height of at least 8-10 feet above the ground.  They lay 1-2 white eggs per nesting attempt, which hatch after 14-19 days of incubation.  Young doves are ready to leave the nest approximately 17 days after hatching.

If you know the location of a Eurasian Collared-Dove nest, please report it to NestWatch.org.  You can log in to NestWatch using your FeederWatch username and password.  To get started, read the NestWatch Code of Conduct and Nest Monitoring Protocol, and then take a short online quiz to become a certified NestWatcher.  Next, watch a few short tutorial videos to learn how to register nest sites and enter data.  Nest monitoring tip:  If you would like to monitor a nest that is above head height, simply attach a small mirror onto the end of a pole or stick.  You can then carefully raise the mirror above the nest to see what’s going on inside!

Don’t know where any Eurasian Collared-Dove nests are?  Not a problem!  NestWatch is seeking observations of all species of nesting birds, so you can also help by monitoring American Robins, Northern Cardinals, Tree Swallows, or whatever other species may be nesting near your home.

If you are in Canada and would like to monitor nests, visit the Project NestWatch website.

21 Comments
  1. K. L. Smith permalink
    June 19, 2013 6:47 pm

    Goodness, I can’t find their nests! They’ve been mating for months where I live, and I live in a part of town with many big trees, yet they’ve hidden their nests so well I can’t see any.
    Of course I can hear them. Terrible screeching noise, especially when mating. And I’m so afraid they have driven-out most of the Robin population. Do they raid the nests of other birds, does anyone know?
    Lee Smith – Fallon, Nevada (near Reno )

    • June 20, 2013 9:45 am

      Hi Lee,

      Eurasian Collared-Doves are not known to have any affect on native species at this point. They are also not an aggressive species. Based on that, it would be highly unlikely that the Eurasian Collared-Doves would be driving out the native robin population.

      Also, the nests tend to be ten or more feet above ground, so they might be hard to find! Good luck looking for them, they must be there somewhere.

  2. suzanne cogen permalink
    June 30, 2013 7:31 pm

    I have a pair of Eurasian Collared Doves that now come to my bird bath every day. They are the first I have ever had here. I just started seeing them in June. I live in No. Calif. in the redwoods.

  3. Diann Toler permalink
    July 1, 2013 3:29 pm

    I have a pair in NE, Nebr., but we live on a farm with several groves, so their nests could be anywhere. They do come to the feeders occasionally.

  4. July 2, 2013 11:32 am

    We have had 2 to 3 collared Doves at our feeders for approximately 4 years now. We live in Erickson, BC Canada, I do not know where their nest is though.

  5. July 3, 2013 8:27 pm

    I was called by the wildlife rehab clinic in Roseville, MN today because they know I raise ring-necked doves. They told me they had a ring-neck, and I was surprised to find a ECD when I picked it up. It was reported found in the wild of Lonsdale, MN.

  6. Vasti permalink
    July 6, 2013 4:50 am

    I have a nest of eurasian doves in my backyard. Unfortunately it’s in a bush barely 5ft from the ground. While well concealed, it’s in an area that we sometimes have to go through and we spooked the bird a few times. There were two eggs that hatched the day before yesterday. We saw the babies. Then yesterday morning one baby was missing and the other one was on the ground. I put the baby on the ground back in the nest. Then his parent came after a few hours and spend the day on the nest. But left before nightfall and never came back. It’s almost 3:00 AM. It’s 62F, but I worry the baby won’t make it. He seems to be sleeping (I can’t sleep because I’m worried about him!) I called a rehab center and they will take him, but is he really abandoned? I’m not sure what to do…

  7. Lynn permalink
    July 13, 2013 9:35 pm

    This is the second year I have seen eurasian doves in my yard – Salt Lake City, Utah. There has been a pair coming to my feeder and now they have 2 juveniles with them. I never could find a nest.

  8. Evelyn Renken permalink
    July 23, 2013 8:51 am

    I live in Worthington, Minnesota and I have a pair of Eurasian Collared-Doves at our feeder. I have never seen them before. They make a sound like a morning dove. Louder and a little longer. I thought the sound was that of a owl. They are certainly bigger than our Morning Doves. Our Morning Doves are not effected by them at all.

  9. Diane permalink
    July 31, 2013 10:55 am

    Hello, I was just directed here as I left a message on the Project Feeder blog. The nesting is almost done and the Doves are about to land on the ground ( into the waiting arms of a neighborhood cat). I am doing all I can to scare that cat to death. My deck is about 20ft off the ground and the nest is about 15 ft away, with nest about 30 plus ft off the ground. I have been taking photos of them in the nest.. Close up shots. 2 Eurasian Collared baby Doves in the nest. The parents are very attentive. I wish I had known about this sooner so I could have given a play by play as it went along. But, lift off is any minute now. Very little ground cover below and one long drop. They are in a huge pine tree and nothing below the branch the nest is on but that 30+ long ft drop. I had my husband cut a much smaller pine tree down and lay it against the pine tree so that maybe they would be able to use that to buffer their drop. I see very little foliage on the ground where they can hide when they are on the ground for 3 or so days before they can actually fly and avoid any predators. In my previous home I had plenty of nests in the backyard of different birds and enjoyed observing them. These little Doves are so quiet. I’ve watched the mother feed them many times. So much pleasure to watch, but I am fearing a bad end if they spend 3 or 4 days on the ground. They are so cute. Mother nature can be so unkind.

    Diane

  10. Kim Robin permalink
    August 5, 2013 1:01 pm

    I have a bird feeder & to my surprise 2 Eurasian Collared-Doves started to come to feed ~ they come every day now ~ I can see they fly to a tree very close ~ so I think that is where they are possibly nesting ~ I live in Coquitlam, British Columbia Canada

  11. Bob Harvry permalink
    August 27, 2013 5:06 pm

    My sister-in-law puts cracked corn and sunflower seeds across our basement driveway every morning, and has about 10 to 20 regular visits from Eurasian collard Doves. I haven’t searched for nests yet. (We also have squirrels, chipmunks, even a Baltimore Oreo as well as an occasional bunny, and most indigenous song birds.)

    I’ll be joining nest watch soon. In last two years I’ve had nests for (1) 2 each chimney swifts or house wrens( mud and straw over a light) (2) 3 each sparrows (straw and sticks in buckets of seldom used garden tools, and one built in a 1/2gal cardboard milk container I tacked to a post about 4′ high on its side. With the top spread full open the same heighth as the widths of the carton…) (3) 1 Mocking bird nest, (4) 1 hummingbird nest and (5) a robin’s nest, (6) a cardinals nest…

    • Bob Harvry permalink
      August 27, 2013 5:16 pm

      The 10 -20 visits means 10 to 20 each at a time. They are skittish of people movement, but they come right on down among the squirrels chipmunks sparrows and 2-3 morning doves, peck around in the grain right next to squirrels, within 1 feet of them! It is quite a site. This link is to a photo of one squirrel taken thru 8 power binocular on our back driveway.

  12. Grams Sal permalink
    September 2, 2013 5:14 pm

    In our neighbourhood……..perhaps 5 streets by 5 streets N.S.E. and West…….there are about 4 – 6 dozen doves. this is their second year. We’re on the lower third of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Exciting! My grandson thought it was me that was cooing/tooting, as that has been our secret signal to find each other since he was born 11 years ago! hilarious!

  13. September 17, 2013 12:16 pm

    I have seen these doves in the past years, 5,6 yrs, go from just 2 or 3 to dozens. They seem to be crowding out the native population of mourning doves and whitewings in my area, n.western AZ. I know it’s not the birds fault, it’s people that brought them here but they really have tripled their population in a short time. It’s alarming for our natives!!!

  14. sally permalink
    September 17, 2013 3:16 pm

    a fellow one street over and down a few houses, has housed pigeons for years and years and years beside his home. The Doves are now sharing with the pigeons. We have few, if any, mourning doves in our area, so hopefully, the Collared Doves won’t cause too much of a problem…… they’re not messy like the pigeons and I enjoy watching them ‘play tag’ up and down the street and straight thru my yard, from tree to tree!

  15. Kay permalink
    September 26, 2013 6:24 pm

    I just looked up to see what type of dove I was seeing. I just counted 20 sitting on my fence.
    We feed Quail in the morning and they are just joining in. Kay from Yakima, Wash.

  16. Lila permalink
    September 26, 2013 9:03 pm

    What does it mean when an ECD is losing feathers around its neck and on the top of its head?

  17. Lila permalink
    October 3, 2013 12:26 am

    I figured out the loss of feathers, the ECD in my backyard is simply molting. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with him since I had read that most birds molt going into spring/summer and he started molting going into the colder weather of mid fall here in the Coeur d’Alene area of ID. His feathers are growing in and you cannot see the pink skin that was showing before.

  18. October 9, 2013 6:53 pm

    We had two pairs all this summer at our feeders and they have, unfortunately, chased out the mourning doves we used to have. Are they endangering the mourning doves?

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  1. Eurasian Collared-Doves conquering America | Project FeederWatch Blog

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