Ruddy Can’t Fail

Good news everyone, looks like you are in for a surprise with tonight’s post!  Unless you happen to live in southern Central America or a large swatch of South America, in which case I probably overplayed the hype for just a Dove. 

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

However, if you are not from those specified places I get to introduce you to …well, a Dove which you probably deduced from the general shape of our featured feathered friend.  A relatively small rounded profile sitting atop a plump chest walking along the ground – yeah, definitely a Dove.  The shape may be similar to the local variety you may be used to, but maybe the colors are throwing you off a bit.

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

Hit the jump to discover what kind of Dove this is!

This isn’t “your average ordinary everyday dude”.  Confession, not positive if this is a dude or dudette, but according to the references the male is more rufous than the female (she has more grey and standard brown hues) and has more contrast between the head coloring and the body.  Audubon’s website chose to lead with a juvenile photo for some strange region, but did have some distinguishing shots in their gallery – they also didn’t bother to provide a region map and allocated exactly three sentences for its profile.

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

While I dig up some interesting facts about our little bird, let’s take a step back and provide some background on how he came to be in my tin.  First off, we found him during our Texas exploration trip in January.  As mentioned in the previous post, I was keeping an eye on the rare bird alerts for the various sites we had planned to visit down there. 

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

There were two birds that caught my eye at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.  One was the Blue Bunting – an empty box on my bird list.  Sorry, like the Rose-Throated Becard at Quinta Mazatlan, no Blue Bunting made its way into the tin. Not a huge miss as their region maps indicate they migrate through that area so maybe next year. 

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

The one that really got me excited was the Ruddy Ground Dove and folks, you are looking right at it.  Naturally, it wasn’t keeping a regular hourly routine, but was at least being seen and reported consistently through to the  first day we made it to the park.  The very helpful visitor center staff confirmed it was still hanging around and directed us to the first feeder area.

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

Linda gave me the stern “don’t be a crazy birder and sprint out of the center” look. Yes, the same look she gave me at Quinta and the same look she gives whenever she sees my  inner excitement reaching dangerous (translated embarrassing) levels.  I sheepishly looked down and we made our controlled progression to the specified feeders.  There were a few birders there when we arrived who promptly informed us it had been there earlier, but had not been seen for a while.  Telling you, this is why you should accept your fate and RUN to the spot hehehe.

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

We gave it a good effort, but alas, no luck.  Disappointed, we made a quick round of the key spots in the park and headed out.  The drizzle had turned to rain and it felt like a good time to go get waffles.  Spent the next day getting the Elegant Trogon (link here).  With luck restored, we made another run at the Ruddy.  On our way to the feeders we find out from another birder (running back after his friend at the visitor center) that it was just there.  This time we hurried over there to learn we MISSED it by 30 seconds.  We set up camp to wait this sucker out. 

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

Slowly a guy walks up and takes a seat near us.  He looked a bit dejected which was confirmed 20 minutes later when he told someone on the phone he had missed the bird thanks to leaving and going to the bathroom earlier – he was the guy the other birder was running after.  We sat and commiserated a bit.  He actually told me what features to look for that turned out to be extremely helpful.  Sometime later, I spotted the Ruddy hanging out on the ground with the Incas.  Two happy birders started working their shutters at blistering speeds.

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

From the shot a couple back, you can tell the Ruddy is a small Dove roughly the size of the Inca (link here).  Beyond the region info, that is the sum total I knew about this visitor from the South.  Took Mr. B.’s advice, grit my teeth and headed over to Wikipedia so I could give you a few more facts about the Ruddy Ground Dove.

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

There have been other incidental sightings along the south eastern border usually during winter months.  They are primarily seed eaters.  Wikipedia stated that the female is all brown which is contrary to the Audubon description.  They are supposedly aggressive with each other.  This specimen was getting along quite well with the other Incas, Common Grounds and White-Tipped Doves that were busy cleaning up under the feeders.

Well, that is pretty much all I have for you.  Super stoked to officially add  it to my bird list even if it is not technically considered a North American bird.  Hope you enjoyed a new friend from the South.

21 thoughts on “Ruddy Can’t Fail”

  1. Dude or Dudette, it’s a beautiful dove. So it the one with the scaly looking feathers. Never seen any doves like this around these parts.

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    1. Going with dude and must agree it lands on the pretty side – unlike those Mournings that are abundant in our parts (and of course those damn Rocks ha). The Inca is by far my favorite in the Dove family – small, distinctive and incredibly accommodating to photographers. Coolest thing is they reveal their hidden burnt orange coloring on their underwings when they take flight. Thanks for dropping by Timothy, maybe we can coax a few of these Doves to head your way.

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    1. Have to agree – I was a bit worried about being able to pick it out of the multiple species of Doves hanging out there, but the rust coloring gave it away pretty quick. Appreciate you dropping in and checking out my post.

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    1. I need to make sure Linda reads your comment .. except I might have to prune out the graceful acceptance, I don’t want her taking advantage of the opportunity! I was just glad that it was a pretty enough bird that the wife didn’t mind waiting around for it – she is very picky about what birds she is willing to invest time in – if they are not “pretty” by her definition she won’t give them the time of day. No Sparrows will EVER hit her tin. Oh, your bets on her not letting me borrow her macro is dead on. I’d have to put my left arm down for collateral and then I wouldn’t be able to hold it hehehe. I am trying the approach of “please go take that {insert small specimen name here} for me so I can show B.” Mixed results so far including “no way in hell am I getting ANY close to that thing” response. As always, stay safe and appreciate sending your browser my way.

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    1. So glad this turned out to be the male as that rust coloring helped me pick it out of the various Doves that were patrolling the grounds for dropped seed. Appreciate you dropping in Sherry and as mentioned on your site, the purple background hues really enhanced those bird shots.

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    1. Will have to check out the AZ ones and see how they compare to the ones around here. Every time I take a picture of a Sparrow I get a small moment of dread knowing I am going to be spending some extra time with the reference books trying to figure out what it is – there are some more obvious ones, but wow, are those generally hard to discern. Unfortunately, Linda’s camera will NEVER be pointed at a Sparrow – it has to be in the Green Jay, Vermilion Flycatcher, Painted Bunting level of brightness before it is worth her time. I on the other hand basically shoot anything that moves ha. Thanks for coming by Lisa!

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