Backyard Birds: Eurasian Collared-Dove

For the past two weeks I’ve had two Eurasian Collared-Doves, likely a breeding pair, coming to my yard every day.  They feed on the lawn (lately, on the snow), eating sunflower seeds that have spilled from the bird feeders.

Eurasian Collared-Doves

Eurasian Collared-Doves are not yet a common backyard bird in Calgary, but that may change.  They were introduced to North America in the Bahamas in the 1970’s and have rapidly spread across the continent.  I think they were first reported in Alberta in 2003, and in Calgary in 2004.  I know of two pairs that have nested in the SE quadrant of the city in each of the past two years:  one pair in Shepard, and another in Dover.

This bird has an odd broken feather sticking out on its left side, so I know it’s the same bird returning each day.

Eurasian Collared-Doves are pale buff-grey to pinkish-grey in colour.  They are about the same length as a Rock Pigeon, but slimmer and with a longer tail.  On the back of their neck they have a narrow black half-ring, edged with white, from which they get their name.

This preening bird shows off its black collar…

Eurasian Collared-Doves are becoming more common in the rural areas south and east of Calgary, and are being seen regularly in the city as well.  They seem to occupy an ecological niche between that of the Rock Pigeon and Mourning Dove.  It remains to be seen if they will become a common backyard bird like the Rock Pigeon, or primarily a rural one like the Mourning Dove.  If you see any in your yard, please let Birds Calgary know!

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

67 thoughts on “Backyard Birds: Eurasian Collared-Dove

  1. We have 6 Eurasian doves in our yard north of Ft. Macleod on west side of highway no.2. They have been here since 2015.
    They seem to love all the trees especially the golden willow tree.
    We love watching them.

  2. I have two that are building there nest right now. They have been here about a year and a half. We’re in Turner valley AB

  3. We have seen them here in Black Diamond, Alberta for the past two years now, This year late November they have built a nest right outside our bedroom window and are visiting the nest every morning around 8:30am. Now with the weather turning cold (Dec 4) will see if they stick around.

    • They are non-migratory so they should stay. I have seen them up in Northern Alberta in -25 C weather in February.

        • They will nest at any time of the year if there is a good food source available, although they nest less frequently in the winter where it is very cold. Rock Pigeons do this too; I’ve seen them on nests in Calgary in February under a concrete bridge. Collared-doves can have up to six broods a year, which has helped to drive their expansion in North America.

          • Ah, yes, now you mention it, I have myself seen Rock Doves nesting very late in the year-and, indeed, very early, (in February!); but–as you know–they are not elaborate nest-builders. The Rock Doves I saw were laying their eggs on the concrete stanchions of a bridge. Their “nests” were rudimentary platforms of straw or twigs, almost as slight as those of Mourning Doves, whose tiny raft-like nests of twigs give no protection at all. Maybe Collared Doves build stronger structures? Incidentally, I appreciate what you say about the Collared Doves’ ability to increase their population (like Rock Doves), in spite of the fact that they too–presumably-lay only one or two eggs in each clutch. Thank you for the information.

        • That’s what we thought as well. Haven’t seen them now since it turned cold -20’s the nest was built while it was fairly warm in November.

  4. i have over 14 regular visitors of this dove. I feed them sunflower seeds and they stay year round in wembley alberta. they are a very nice bird but they will coo all day during mating season and appear quiet after.

  5. Luce Golding, Hayter Ab: We have at least three of these doves. Our friends in Altario also has them in their yard. They sure are fun to watch. I have them landing on our back balcony and i can take good picture from inside our home. They seem to be quite tame.

    • They are pretty common in that part of the city, and seem to spending the winter there as well.

  6. I moved to the Peace River country in northern Alberta and we have several living in the small town here.

    • Yes, I have also seen them in Peace River for the last few years. They seem to be more of a small-town bird than a city bird. Not a lot of them right in Calgary.

  7. We live on central Kansas for few weeks now have had these pigeons/doves in front yard feeding off the spilt sunflowers seeds. I knew were not ordinary pigeons/ doves. They have striking vivid blue collars on them. Very pretty. Will be nice if they continue to return for following years.

  8. We came home this morning in Bend, Oregon to one of these Eurasian collared doves sitting on the rail of my deck. All alone. At first I thought it was a mourning dove as we’ve had them before. But when I googled “bird with black ring around neck” I found this bird and your site. My 5 year old grand-daughter was very impressed. Beautiful bird. Going to bird feed store to get some seeds as I only have been putting out peanuts for other birds.

    • Sadly, my collared doves have not returned. Perhaps it is as well, as I am now somewhat disabled, and cannot visit the stores so easily, to buy the cereal grain (millet, sunflower, milo, wheat, and corn) that they like–though I would make the effort if I saw them again. Apparently they also eat some berries and green parts of plants, as well as invertebrates.

  9. We have had a pair of Eurasian Collared Doves hanging around our bird feeder in a Japanese Lilac off and on since summer. Lately there have been up to seven perched in the tree outside our bedroom window. We love them. I pack the snow under the feeder in order for the seeds spilled by Sparrows, Chickadee’s and Redpolls to be in the surface below. I have been misidentifying them as Mourning Doves until this week.
    Chaparral (South Calgary)

  10. I have a pair who never leave my yard in Arizona and idk what they feed off of cause I have no grass but they are very friendly and never leave my house, I thought it was my fathers sports watching over me. I mean you think of birds and flying away and never returning to the same spot twice

  11. I have been feeding three Eurasian doves all summer in Consort Alberta, two are together and one lone one, I have never seen all three together.

    • They have been resident in Peace River for a few years already. They are really filling in the map!

  12. WE have had doves here in Spruce View for two winters now, I had thought that they were escaped from someones collection but they have no bands. They love to clean up seeds from a feeder I have set out for them.

  13. We’re southwest of Calgary in Pincher Creek, and we’ve recently started seeing a mated pair dining on the ground below our feeder this spring/summer. They’ve taken up in the neighbor’s evergreen.
    Very much like the Mourning dove, they are more active in the morning/evening for feeding, tending to their perimeter during the afternoon and are very protective of their tree- not afraid to chase away Grackles or alike. More of an owl-hooting in sound, but very welcome.

  14. Saw our first pair in Sturgeon County west of St. Albert today. They were under some of our feeders and hanging around the house all day. Beautiful to see. Hope they stay around as we have many ground feeding birds including some of my own pigeons which feed on crushed corn and crushed sun flower seeds.

  15. I found this because I was trying to identify some “pigeons” in my yard. Today we had a pair of these in my back yard in Vancouver BC.

  16. We have 2 Eurasian collard doves in our back yard in Okotoks the have been here since last year feeding off our bird seed

    • Two collared doves turned up today in my Lethbridge garden. They seemed to find something to eat among the birdseed on my feeders; but I managed to buy some “pigeon food” (corn, barley, etc.,) with which to supplement my other seeds, so that, if they return, they may find something more palatable.

  17. I had two Eurasian Collared Doves in our yard 15kms north of Cochrane yesterday Nov. 9, 2014. I have never seen them before so had to look them up in a bird book to find out what they were.

  18. We have 24 Eurasian doves feeding all day since early September one is missing it’s tail feathers Spending the nights in the blue spruce trees close to the feeders we also have woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Bluejays, Flickers we are feeding shelled sunflowers, Peanuts, Cashews, Cracked corn , Black sunflower with some millet mixed in this is my own blend.

    • Where are you located? Sometimes large flocks of Collared-Doves gather at urban feeders in the winter, but I think it’s more common in rural areas.

  19. We live in Davisburg and we have 3 feeding at our feeders and bathing in the fountain

  20. We have had 3 Eurasian collared Doves around our neighbourhood in Calgary-Parkland SE for 2 weeks now. First time I have ever heard them… Heard them first, and then saw them. 3 of them and one was always chasing the other away so I figure 2 males and a female

    • They have been in the Olds area for a few years but I’m not sure they have nested there before. – Bob

  21. I live in Tilley Alberta just 2 hours south east of Calgary and I have had two in my hard the last two days!

  22. Yes beautiful but they keep waking me up in the morning they’re like roosters make too much noise.

    • They are beautiful birds and my grandaughter can get them to answer her call. We have two in a very large spruce tree next to our home. They often perch on our fence. Love their call. This is their second year so hope they stay around. They did leave for the winter.

  23. November 11,2013
    We live in Drumheller and we have 8 of these beautiful Eurasian doves that come and eat out of our feeders.They usually disappear in the winter but are glad to see that they are still here. We also have many Downy and Harry Woodpeckers, and Nuthatches visit the feeders.
    N&C Green

  24. I have one Eurasian Collard Dove at my seed feeder today with 6cm of snow on the ground in High Prairie, Alberta.

    • The doves seem to be sticking around. We also have a Hairy woodpecker as well as the Northern flickers visiting the yard. We seem to be attracting a variety of birds to the yard!
      Love to see and hear them!

  25. We had just put out feeders for the Finches and Chickadees as well as the BlueJays and and Nuthatches that visit our yard and this morning we had five doves sitting pruning on the fence. One was a Eurasian dove but the other four appeared to be morning doves. We are new to this but my husband was very excited to see the doves! We live in Medicine Hat AB

  26. We have a pair of Eurasian doves in our yard visiting for about a week now. We live in Big Valley 100 km east of Red Deer

  27. I live between Aldersyde and High River Alberta and just notice a pair of these beautiful doves eating out of my bird feeder. I have never seen them before… They are very sweet

    • I am in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and I saw some Eurasian Collared Doves down here. Heard them before I saw them. They will soon be all over the Americas.

  28. we had a pair here west of Wetaskiwin all last summer and they raised one young one… now the pair is back again!

    • Eurasian Collared-Doves are becoming more and more common in the city, and they do usually stay year-round near where they breed. There is a house in the south part of Deer Run where about 20 of these birds came regularly to the feeders this winter. The bird you saw could be from this group, which should be dispersing to breeding areas about now. In my neighbourhood, one pair of Eurasian Collared-Doves has nested in the same location in each of the last two years, but I never see them in the winter. Perhaps they hang out with the group in Deer Run in the winter. Last year they showed up in my yard on April 9, exactly one year ago today. I had a look around the area for them today but didn’t find them.

  29. March 31, 2012
    Have seen what we believe for the last week, in Okotoks, Alberta two Eurasian Collared Doves, always seen together so we assume a male and female, and we hoping their are building a nest! Very excited considering we are not bird watchers!
    The Brockerville’s

  30. It’s possible I saw a Eurasian Dove today in Herronton, Alberta, a half hour east of High River. It had a dark stripe on it’s wing, and was sandy colored, only one but I would love to see more. Love Lou

  31. I had actually found one in forest lawn with tags on it case i am sure it was someones pet and i phoned wildlife and they told me to just let it go… my friend kept it in her house for a few days before it decided to fly away and they are actually very nice calm birds.. i think they are very beautiful and can sing amazingly

    • I think you might have found an Oriental Turtle Dove, which look very similar to Eurasian Collared Doves. Turtle doves are popular caged birds, so if your bird was used to humans, I’m guessing he was probably an escaped pet. Hopefully he found is way back home!

  32. This morning I awoke to a Collared Dove on the railing of My upper Deck! What a surprise! They are so beautiful!
    I live in Two Hills Alberta, North of Edmonton.

    • They are beautiful birds. They’ve now been reported as far north as The Yukon, so I think they’re here to stay!

  33. My sister has a pair in her back alley at Parkvalley Drive S.E.. She thought they were common ringneck doves like we used to raise as aviary birds. Now I am in Brooks and there is a pair in our back alley here. Amazing to see them wild in Alberta. They should be very territorial so I hope they are not crowding out the mourning doves.

    • I have been told by a wildlife biologist that the Eurasian doves do tend to displace the mourning doves. I’ve also heard that the Eurasian’s tend to prefer rural habitats, so I’m hoping their population won’t explode in Calgary. I love my mourning doves!

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