Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove
Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz, California, USA
September 2015
Member of the Dove and Pigeon Family
§A Dole of Doves§

{Etymology Corner} Well, it's a dove native to Eurasian and it has this collar, so it appears to be case closed. Not so fast, gentle blog reader, there's more. We're finally delving (perhaps inadvisably) into the world of scientific names for this one. Streptopeleia decaocto is her name, and there are some interesting notes here. The first part, Stepto-whatever is just Latin for "Collared Dove". However, Decaocto is a name of Greek Mythological origin. She was a servant girl whose life was so terrible that the gods turned her into a dove so she could fly away from her whole existence. Thanks gods. It is said that this Dove's mournful cry is her weeping (you know the cry, you confuse it for an owl). Wikipedia disagrees, however, stating that Decaocto was chosen because it is phonologically similar to the coo-COO-coo cry. Uhhh... nice try, but I'm going to stick with the myth.

~true bird fact~ This bird, as you may have gathered from the name, is not a native species. It came to the US through the Bahamas after a pet store was robbed in the 80's and some of the birds escaped (of course a pet store in the Bahamas was robbed in the 80's). By 1982 the bird was spotted in Florida, and, spreading quickly, it was all the way in California by 2001. Now the bird is nearly everywhere in the states, some heading as far north as Alaska. The theory is that the Collared Dove was able to expand her range so quickly because she is filling a biological niche left by the extinction of the Carrier Pigeon. I, for one, am really proud of the Collared Dove and take a pro Collared Dove stance. Sometimes you just come upon a bird with a real interesting narrative. Or even two in this case. It's always a nice surprise.

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