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Birds of the St. Croix River Valley: Minnesota and Wisconsin


Pigeons and Doves

Rock Dove -- Mourning Dove -- Passenger Pigeon

Rock Dove (Columba livia)

Status: Regular permanent resident.

Distribution: An abundant permanent resident in cities, towns, and near farm buildings. Uncommon to rare away from human habitation.

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident.

Migration: Abundant migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon and more local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in mid-March, reaching peak abundance 5-15 April. Fall migration begins with flock formation among immatures in mid-August. Peak abundance occurs between 15 September and 1 October, and most birds depart by 25 October. Several nestlings that I banded in this region were recovered in southern Texas by the end of September during the same year of banding.

Nesting Season Distribution: The mourning dove is an abundant nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain. In the Northern Highland, mourning doves are uncommon to rare nesting birds. Mourning doves have a rather long nesting season at this latitude; nest dates range from 18 April to 20 September.

Winter: A fairly common winter resident in the Western Upland, rare to absent elsewhere. The CBC data indicate that the early winter distribution is centered in St. Croix and Washington counties.

Habitat: A characteristic edge species, occurring in largest densities in Pine Plantations, shelterbelts, and fencerows. Occurs fairly commonly in ornamental coniferous trees planted in residential areas.

Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius)

Status: Extinct.

Records: The destruction of this species across North America has been well documented. Passenger pigeons were a common nesting species in the Valley until the 1880's. Schorger (1955) described their distribution and cited the last record at New Richmond, St. Croix County, on 28 September 1887. Roberts (1932) mentioned a "pigeon nesting" that was located between White Bear Lake and Taylors Falls in the late 1800's. This location may have been in either Chisago or Washington county.

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