No Hope

Okay, so I kinda screwed up on my last post. I’ve been going through so many new birds as of late, that I went lax a bit on my paperwork. I made it all the way to end of my post completely under the illusion that the Yellow-Throated Warbler was new to the blog. Granted, there was even a small pat on the back as I closed out the text for that post knowing the list counter was going to move. If you recall, an official tick in the list requires a sufficient picture that reveals the key characteristics, validation of the ID from a trusted source (usually my brother Ron), processing of the image with upload to gallery and then an official blog post. Definitely a bit of work and one of the reasons my official bird count is embarrassingly low. My backlog is fairly sizeable – thus the extra push on new birds over the last several months. The final step in the post is to set the tags. All of a sudden, my editor filled in the rest of the characters when typing in the name of the Warbler Whaaaaat!?! Ugh, that clued me into a previous post which was quickly located from a Georgia birding trip. Drats.

Decided to remedy that snafu tonight. I can guarantee tonight’s featured feathered friend (Pat may I buy an ‘e’)

Inca Dove found at Valley Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas January 2018

My Dove count is definitely starting to shape up. Already featured on the blog are

  • Mourning Dove (link here)
  • White-Winged Dove (link here)
  • White-Tipped Dove (link here)
  • Rock Pigeon (link here)

 

and I have a couple in the works I haven’t had a chance to post yet (think of this as a future episode teaser)

  • Eurasian Collard-Dove
  • Common Ground-Dove

 

Today, I am proud to bring you the latest addition to this list,. the Inca Dove.

Inca Dove found at Valley Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas January 2018

Hit the jump to read more about this uniquely feathered Dove

This specimen was discovered while birding the Valley Nature Birding Center on our birding trip to Weslaco, Texas last January. If you recall, this is the same place that brought me the Clay-Colored Thrush (link here) and the recently posted Black-and-White Warbler (link here). I have to admit, this is probably my favorite species of the Dove. The feather pattern on these Inca’s are very distinctive with each feather being delicately outlined . Almost looks like it was chiseled out of stone or maybe even covered in fish scales .

Inca Dove found at Valley Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas January 2018

The other distinctive feature of this Dove is their red tinted eye. You can kind of see that in the shot above, but the drab day didn’t give much opportunity to highlight that particular feature. According to Cornell, their eyes can be a window into their soul -well, at least into their emotional disposition. When alarmed by an intruder, their eyes will brighten. By that gauge, it didn’t appear to be concerned about my presence.

Inca Dove found at Valley Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas January 2018

It did keep an eye on me, glancing in my direction from time to time to make sure I was keeping a safe distance – probably checking his grooming in the big glass. These Incas have a very pretty pink/purple hue on their necks, creating a very subtle gradation of color as you travel up through to the top of head which is more light blue/turquoise. Bob Ross would include plenty of “Happy’s” when painting this particular bird – likely sitting in a “happy happy evergreen”. This bird has another distinctive color pattern I wasn’t able to bring to you. Their under-feathers have a rich chestnut on them. I did witness it as this one eventually took flight somehow navigating the thick underbrush which my glass couldn’t. Opted to not show you the blurry mess that did make it into the tin. Will leave you with a better shot of the back so you can see the feather outline continues all the way through the body albeit in a tighter pattern.

Inca Dove found at Valley Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas January 2018

Just a couple more interesting facts before tying the bow on this post. The Inca would not be the best motivational animal totem to choose. Choosing a “life half empty” disposition, these birds have a cooing that sounds like “no hope”. Poe should have picked this symbol for the embodiment of his depression and not stick that stigma on the Raven. Lastly, these Inca’s do not like the cold – probably why they hang out primarily in the southern tip of the US and down into Central America. When we were there it was certainly unusually cold (low 40’s), but didn’t get to witness any “pyramid roosting” – basically they will stand on each other up to three Doves high. Something to look for the next time we bring the cold Midwestern air down to Texas with us (trust me, we heard about it from the locals the ENTIRE time we were down there).

7 thoughts on “No Hope”

  1. Cool feathers! Reminds me of some of the chicken breeds that also have outlined feathers making them prize show chickens. I am wondering as far as doves go how are most of the numbers these days? I know millions were shot in the past and wondering how the numbers have recovered. Another side note- we had a news program here in Dutch taking about the increased numbers of young female birders. It was good to see some interest by younger people in something besides a computer screen. They we even carrying bird – wait- books! OMG! A book! Way cool for me to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Doves are doing pretty well when it comes to species survival – in general this is due to their ability to adapt to urban areas. You are right in that many of them fall in the “game” bird category and thus subject to seasonal thinning. For example, the Mourning Dove has a US population of around 102m – roughly 20m fall victim to hunters each year, but their numbers are holding strong thanks to conservation steps being taken. As a side note, the state park down the road from me plants huge sunflower crops each year and then open it for Dove hunting once the seeds dry – I swear every Dove in that park make their way to sanctuary on my property during that time – ha. Some additional numbers just to give the perspective

      White-Winged – 4.6m US pop and expanding
      White-Tipped – 18.6m and stable
      Rock Pigeon – 8.4m but actually in decline (you would never know that by looking under our overpasses)
      Inca – 1m and increasing

      One of the key concerns is heavily hunted fields tend to leave a lot of lead shot on the ground. Since all the Doves are ground foragers, they have a habit of eating the pellets which can poison the bird.

      It has been a joyous sight as of late when I come upon someone in the field from the younger generation especially when they have binoculars or a camera with them giving indication that they are carrying on the tradition – then other times I see them staring at their phones looking for a Pokemon completely oblivious to all the interesting things nature has to offer. On the bright side, at least they are getting some sun ha. Thanks for stopping by, always enjoy your interesting perspectives on my posts.

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    1. Wish I would have had a bit more light to play with, they tended to blend into their surroundings in the shot a bit more than they do in person – next time I’ll swap in my wife’s camera which has a superior low light sensors – although at the cost of an annoyingly loud shutter which tends to startle the birds. Appreciate you stopping by Brian – keep thinking I need to get some of my own butterflies processed and posted every time I visit your site (but then I would have to identify them and I really suck at that hehehe)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very cool bird! Reminds me of the Common Ground-Dove that I saw in Chicago, a rare bird around here, which was actually very cute. I found that bird before you did, but now the only pigeon/dove that is uniquely in my column is the Band-Tailed Pigeon–again, please stay out of California or I’ll lose all advantage!

    What’s with the sad doves! The Mourning Doves are named for their forlorn cooing, and here you have a bird that coos “No hope”?

    Ron

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whoa, your comment just clued me into the fact I forgot to change my working title – I had actually named this post on my other blog No Hope thanks to their song (which you noted). Fixed that oversight now hehehe. Oh yes, the Common Ground-Dove, that little check mark you used to be able to hold over me (every time I was able to a check on you). Well, that is gone and I got to see it in its natural environment as opposed to one obviously blown waaaayyyy off course,. Hmmm, Linda and I are currently planning our Summer vacation .. was thinking about somewhere North, but you know what, California sounds interesting (in a birding context ONLY). Yes, these Doves are definitely getting a bad wrap on the naming front. I find them to be rather cheerful at my bird feeder, but then again, 20 million get shot every year so it might just be depression.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

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