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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Mourning Dove with iridescent feathers

The iridescence on the side of the neck of this Mourning Dove is a coloration I have not seen before on this species. The feathers catch sunlight as often seen on the heads and throats of hummingbirds. This dove was photographed a few days ago in Arizona. I doubt if geography is a factor. Perhaps the bird was celebrating bright and warm sunshine, as I was.

Juvenile kittiwakes visiting here are vagabonds

Minnesota occasionally sees Black-legged Kittiwakes as visitors. They show up along the Lake Superior shore or on the Mississippi or Minnesota rivers in the metro area. As far as I know, all sightings have been of juvenile birds, like the one in the photo. Why is that? Perhaps because for the first two to four years of their lives these birds wander. They leave the nesting grounds of their parents to travel before recruitment into the breeding population. Adult birds apparently stay within their usual range. This information comes from an excellent book by British ornithologist Michael Brooke. The book is "Far from Land: The Mysterious Lives of Seabirds. It will be published in March by Princeton University Press. The kittiwake in the photo was found several years ago on the Minnesota River at Blackdog.

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