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White-winged Doves having banner year

White-winged Doves are one of a handful of bird species rapidly increasing in Nebraska.  The dove is a native to the American Southwest, but has been increasing in numbers and expanding its range for decades.  Nebraska had its first documented occurrence in 1994 and by the end of the 20th Century there were three more records.  The number of reports continued to increase during the 21st Century.  This is nothing new and I’ve blogged before (here and here) about White-winged Dove increases in Nebraska.  However, during the past two years (2016-17) the White-winged Dove invasion seems to have reached a new level.

I found this White-winged Dove with little effort in Benkelman in June. The bird has a a deformed bill but otherwise seemed to get along just fine.

Among the recent developments are new reports of nesting in Culbertson, Hitchcock County, and Aurora, Hamilton County, in 2016 and near Wahoo, Saunders County, in 2017.  The frequency of White-winged Dove reports in places like Benkelman, Champion and Imperial suggest the species is now established as a summer resident in some cities and towns in southwest Nebraska .  It is assumed regular nesting likely occurs in these areas even though evidence may be lacking.   Reports of single birds or pairs also seems to have increased over the lat two years.  I tallied at least a dozen reports for 2017 which is remarkable considering there were no documented records less than two decades ago.

It seems it is only a matter of time before White-winged Doves are common and widespread in Nebraska.  If you’ve seen a White-winged Dove recently that you haven’t reported elsewhere (e.g., eBird.org), drop me a note at joel.jorgensen@nebraska.gov.

Good birding!

About Joel Jorgensen

Joel Jorgensen is a Nebraska native and he has been interested in birds just about as long as he has been breathing. He has been NGPC’s Nongame Bird Program Manager for eight years and he works on a array of monitoring, research, regulatory and conservation issues. Nongame birds are the 400 or so species that are not hunted and include the Whooping Crane, Least Tern, Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon. When not working, he enjoys birding.

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