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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Here comes the Eurasian Collared Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove
A bird that’s rapidly becoming at home in north Texas is the Eurasian Collared Dove.  Prior to the mid ‘80s, it wasn’t even in most field guides. But after it was introduced to the Bahamas in the ‘70s, it quickly spread out and is now one of the most frequently-seen birds in the southeast, and is expanding its range westward. It was first reported in the U.S. in 1982 - just north of Miami. Interestingly, there is actually an increase in the native dove populations when this non-native dove takes up residence.  In north Texas, that includes the Mourning Doves.

A Mocker’s diet     About half the diet of a Northern Mockingbird (our state bird!)  is fruits and berries. The other half is insects (including insect-flavored suet, sometimes). The Mockingbird won’t ever eat at a seed feeder, although it may hang around the same area. As a practicing Landscape Architect in Texas, I’ve seen that they’re partial to native hollies, beautyberry, agarita, soapberry and Mexican plum.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Seen any of these "urban birds" lately?

House Finch

There are more birds living in and around north Texas cities than you may think. Especially since there is far less "rural" land now, and more and more built-up land. Of course all of these species won’t be in all yards. And some birds (like Goldfinches & Juncos) are winter-only, while others (like Orioles & Swallows) are summer-only. These are the most numerous year-‘round urban birds; 

House Finch Sometimes called a red-headed “Hollywood Finch”

Red-winged Blackbird Travels and feeds in large flocks

American Crow Extremely intelligent, for a bird

American Robin Actually lives here year-‘round

European Starling Not a native bird; imported from Europe 

House Sparrow Not a true North American sparrow

Dove Several species, all with memorable songs

Killdeer Likes to nest on ground, near pavement

Rock Pigeon Well-adapted to city life

Carolina Chickadee Small, inquisitive bird

Tufted Titmouse Takes readily to birdhouses

Grackle Their range is expanding northward

Wren Several species of this active, loud bird

Northern Mockingbird Official state bird of Texas;  eats bugs

Blue Jay Large, noisy bird that loves nuts


While it's certainly not winter here yet, a few of north Texas' "winter birds" have already arrived. Readers tell me they've seen Juncos, Flickers, Chipping Sparrows, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Orange-crowned Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.         In my own yard I've seen some of these plus several White-throated Sparrows.