This past Tuesday morning Brian McCaffrey spotted a White-winged Dove among the Mourning Doves in his Kent County, Delaware backyard! This is only the 8th record for the state of Delaware, and the 1st for Kent County. The dove remained in and around the yard, mostly sunning itself and trying to stay warm, at one point avoiding a hungry Cooper’s Hawk, until around 2pm when it flew off and never returned. Brian was able to spread the word quickly on the Delaware Birding Facebook group, and quite a few birders were able to see the dove before it left.
Since the 1980’s the White-winged Dove population has rapidly increased in both of its major strongholds (the desert southwest and Florida) and the species has become an fairly regular vagrant throughout the country, especially the northeast, since the early 1980’s. White-winged Doves have strayed as far north as Alaska and Newfoundland, and records are particularly abundant along the mid-Atlantic coastline. Sightings are often during late summer and fall, presumably of birds overshooting during their annual movements in relation to their favorite food source – the saguaro cactus.