The Collared Dove - a frequent visitor to the garden.
The Collared Dove is a frequent visitor to many UK Gardens all year round, being seen picking away at seed or chasing around playfully after a mate in spring. Their markings are quite distinctive, especially the black/dark grey collar around the nape of their neck and their brown/pale grey feathers which cover the majority of their body and head, with black tips to their wings. Both the male and female are virtually identical but you can normally tell the difference in mating season as the male will be the one doing the chasing.
It is remarkable to think that these birds were no-where to be seen on our shores until the mid-60s. Previous to that the Collared Dove was mostly found the warmer parts of Southern Europe and Asia. All of a sudden in the 1930’s the birds started to spread at high speed, one possible explanation could be related to warmer winters in the more temperate areas but this is hard to justify as the Dove has spread into Scandinavia and Northern Russia.
The Collared dove tends to lay two white eggs that hatch in around 14 days, with the young birds leaving the nest about 21-30 days after that. Because of this rapid cycle they are able to quickly reproduce when conditions are favourable, possibly being part of the reason by their meteoric rise in numbers and distribution.
The birds tend to build nests in trees made from twigs but are known to take advantage of many other spots, many being man made such as houses, scaffolding and TV aerials. This ability to adapt themselves and cope around humans has given them the edge over many other native bird species and is the reason that they are a fairly common sight at the bird table.
Lays two white eggs
Wide Distribution across North Africa, Europe, and now even Florida and North America
Seen as a pest in some parts