When I go on my short walks after work I don’t carry my binoculars or any other birding gear. I do what Ted Eubanks would describe as “bare-naked” birding. The point of these short walks is for exercise and to get in shape for longer weekend walks. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch the sky and listen to the birds, I just don’t bird at the usual slower pace.
So Wednesday I’m walking down the Greenway Trail in Franklin at a good clip when I hear what sounds like the call of a distant Barred Owl. At 5:45 in the afternoon? I have heard many Barred Owls in the afternoon so it doesn’t strike me as real odd. Sorta odd, but not unusual. As I proceed the call is much closer and I’m sure it is the call of a closer dove, not a distant owl. But what throws me off is the call is not that of a Mourning Dove. It sounds like the call of the Eurasian Collared-Dove. But that can’t be since Eurasian Collared-Doves don’t exist in Johnson County.
When I moved here last year I made out my initial list of birds I should see in Johnson County. I included Eurasian Collared-Dove in the second set of birds. Birds I should see that might take a little work. I figured that since Illinois had Eurasian Collared-Doves in every town with a grain elevator, and even most towns without elevators, I shouldn’t have a problem finding them in semi-rural Johnson County. Not so. After a few months of hanging out at grain elevators and not seeing any, I went back and checked the status and distribution charts and maps.
And what I found is that Eurasian Collared-Doves are basically not in Indiana. Which completely stunned me since they are all over Illinois, less than a 100 miles away. I know they are scattered around Indiana but aren’t widespread. And I eventually saw them last year in Indiana in towns far from Johnson County.
So you can see my surprise when walking along I heard what sounded like a Eurasian Collared-Dove. After twisting my neck around 18 directions I finally found the bird on a power line, not a telephone line but a power line. So it is pretty far up. The bird looks whiter and bulkier than a Mourning Dove. The tail looks square and dark on the underside. But I am “bare-naked” birding and even with my new glasses I’m not 100% sure since a Eurasian Collared-Dove shouldn’t be here. The bird eventually flies and I walk on home rethinking this “bare-naked” birding.
Thursday I have rethought “bare-naked” birding and stick my binoculars in my coat pocket, just in case. I don’t figure on a Eurasian Collared-Dove but you never know what my turn up. No camera though, I don’t want to be that bogged down. So I am walking the same path and who should be at the same spot?
That’s right, the Eurasian Collared-Dove. And in the same spot. I really hadn’t expected that. So I make the ID through my binoculars and take the above ID photo through my phone and binoculars. Phone and Binocular picture taking is something I need to practice since I only got one decent photo.
The sighting of the Eurasian Collared-Dove has really got me thinking why they aren’t in Indiana or the NE part of the country. If anyone has an idea I would like to hear it. I checked all my sources with no answer. So I will probably write a post on some of my thoughts.