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Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

Should we root for these doves?

March 04, 2009 at 03:49 PM

For the past two years, we’ve had a pair of Eurasian collared doves living in the neighborhood. And while they are noisy rascals, they are also pretty birds. Larger than a mourning dove and with that splash of black around their necks, they are impressive to watch.

Part of me likes having them around. But part of me frets about them, since they are an invasive species that is moving swiftly through the United States. Click here to read more about the spread of collared doves in Illinois. Here’s an excerpt from that article:

In the mid-1980s, some doves kept as caged birds in the Bahamas escaped and spread to Florida. Amazingly, in less than two decades, the dove has reproduced so successfully that birds are now found in 48 states and provinces. The first official Illinois record came in 1997. Today they occur in 60 of the 102 counties.

All of which leads me to my current moral dilemma. The female is nesting in the crook of a maple tree in the back yard. She has been sitting on the nest diligently for the past few days and I expect to see little doves any day now. Actually, they have been nesting for several weeks, but I think their first effort failed in an earlier cold spell.

Normally, I would be rooting hard for any nesting bird. But as noted above, these are invasive species. And we’ve seen what alien invaders can do to native populations. I’ve heard too many horror stories about sparrows from folks who maintain bluebird nest boxes.

Everything I read about collared doves says they are similarly aggressive. Certainly they cause a ruckus among other birds when they come in to feed. Birders think mourning doves may be negatively impacted by the spread of collared doves, since they compete for the same nesting areas and foods.

So what do you think? Should I root for Momma Collared Dove? Or should I hope for a sudden windstorm that knocks her out of her perch in our yard?

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