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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In a Flash

Last week while I was sitting at my desk I saw a huge flash of white out of the corner of my eye as a couple of Mourning Doves flew down to the base of my feeder. Since White-winged Doves can show up anywhere in the US, I'm always half-way looking for them. I rushed to the window to check out the dove only to be confronted by this guy (on left).

A Mourning Dove with white tail feathers. Just goes to show you have to double check those field marks when you get a quick look at a bird--and need more than one field mark to ID a bird. In this case a bird with a few white feathers can superficially mimic a well-known field mark of another species. According to the Birds of North America account, partial albinism like this is rare in Mourning Doves and usually involves wing feathers.

(photo:Don Ekstrom)

1 comment:

Scott said...

As you know, it's not atypical for mourning doves to have those white tips on their tail feathers, but I've been watching a resident MODO here in southern Arizona for a few weeks now, and finally had the opportunity to snap a few photos of him that you may appreciate. It's a pretty nice display of partial albinism. I'm about to put a shot on my blog if you're interested. I like your site by the way.... I'm a bit of a bird nerd myself.

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