Hoover, the semi-tame African Collared Dove who hangs out in our neighborhood, has been a bachelor for a while. But earlier this summer, we observed him in the company of a female dove who appeared to be a smallish Eurasian Collared Dove, a naturalized old world species that has become very numerous across the US. African Collared Doves are also non-native but less common; our Phoenix-area neighborhood just happens to sustain a small population probably descended from birds released in nearby Papago Park a couple decades ago.
We wondered if these two had something going on. We may have had our answer this morning, when Hoover showed up for his daily handout with Offspring. Darker than its parent, the young one was just starting to develop the black neck-ring that both of its parents have. The little dove didn’t fall very far from the branch; after some jostling, both birds settled in for a feed on E‘s outstretched hand.
The young one has the typical gangly, big-beaked look of an immature dove. (Photo A.Shock)
By the way, I don’t recommend hand-feeding wild birds. Hoover was initially hand-tamed by soft-hearted neighbors. We inherited the “responsibility” sort of accidentally, while caring for our neighbor’s yard a while ago, and have continued it out of the same soft-hearted impulse. Now the behavior seems to be being passed on to the next generation. Time will tell if the youngster will learn Hoover’s in-your-face-wheedling technique of zooming low over our heads whenever we’re outside and he’s in the mood for safflower seeds.