Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

White-winged dove

with 21 comments

White-Winged Dove on Ashe Juniper 1237

On the morning of December 10, as the squirrels began to settle down from their frantic chasing, a group of white-winged doves, Zenaida asiatica, increasingly took the squirrels’ place outside my window and warmed up in the shafts of sunshine coming through the branches of an Ashe juniper tree, Juniperus ashei. If you have an imagination like mine, you may see this dove’s frontmost feathers as tiny seashells.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 24, 2012 at 6:22 AM

21 Responses

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  1. He is beautiful and I can see the tiny fluffy seashells.


    December 24, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    • I’m glad that you find the dove attractive and that your imagination sees the little seashells.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2012 at 7:30 AM

  2. When the Houston Galleria didn’t exist and people still were hunting quail on that land, I’m told white-wings were a South Texas bird. Anyone who wanted to hunt them had to make a pretty big commitment, in time and money both. Even when I started varnishing in 1990, I never saw anything but inca and mourning doves. Now, the white-wings (and ring-necked) are fairly common here. We know the white-wings have expanded their territory to your house!

    They’re such a smooth bird. It looks like this one was a little fluffed-up to keep warm in the morning chill. That darned fluff is everywhere!


    December 24, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    • The scientific name Zenaida asiatica originally made me think this bird wasn’t native in North America, but apparently it’s native on more than one continent.

      According to John Tveten: “Accounts of early settlers in Texas state that from about 1870 to 1920 there were several million white-winged doves in the lower Rio Grande Valley. However, wholesale clearing of the land destroyed most of the scrub woodlands used for nesting….” Clearing or no clearing, I often see these birds in the trees outside my house.

      I think you’re right that the fluffing up of the feathers was for warmth, as was the bird’s position in the sunlight (which you can tell by the shadows came from the upper right).

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2012 at 8:03 AM

  3. Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?


    December 24, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    • For readers who may be baffled by that question, let me explain that “Who cooks for you?” is the English-language transcription of the call that white-winged doves make. If I take the question literally, the answer is that Eve cooks for me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2012 at 9:10 AM

  4. Wishing you a Joyous New Year! I’ve enjoyed following your blog this past year and our meeting this month! You have been an inspiration, thank you!

    Bonnie Michelle

    December 24, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    • Thanks so much, and a joyous New Year to you, too, Bonnie. I look forward to your next visit to Austin.

      (There are hardly any wildflowers out now, but I did see just a few today.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2012 at 1:01 PM

  5. Terrific photo, Steve!


    December 24, 2012 at 7:37 PM

  6. I enjoyed this post very much. I like the white wings for they are around when not another bird species can be found- at least in my yard. I remember back in the 70’s I think it was, that my husband asked me to identify a dove that he had killed believing it to be a mourning dove. From that time on, the white wings gradually increased and now they out number the mourning dove and I no longer have any inca doves in the yard. The white wings are always in a small flock or large, depending on the food sources available at any given time. And, yes, I can see the breast feathers that look like tiny sea shells. Beautiful.


    December 24, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this post. As you pointed out, white-winged doves have become common in central Texas, perhaps even at the expense of other species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 25, 2012 at 7:45 AM

  7. I see the shells too, puffed up to keep warm, just like your pygmy owl! But, then it’s cold there! I’m intrigued by the blue around the eye. Lovely pic.


    December 27, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    • While you’re having summer in Australia we’re having winter in the United States, but central Texas has mild winters by the standards of much of the rest of the country. Yesterday morning was the first one in Austin this season when the temperature had dropped overnight to below freezing, and only by a few degrees. In any case, I’ll agree that the pale blue around the dove’s eyes is intriguing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 27, 2012 at 7:53 AM

  8. ah, such a lovely image! the doves are very special birds. here in ecuador, we have a croaking ground dove, and it literally croaks! it sounds so funny! there are rufous naped wrens in costa rica that seem to ask over and over, ‘weird people live here weird people live here weird people live here, ‘and i laugh and say, ‘i know they do!’

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    December 27, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    • I’m glad you like the picture of this bird. I’ve never heard of the croaking ground doves in Ecuador or the naped wrens of Costa Rica, but I imagine most birds think that people are weird. I know they do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 27, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      • http://playamart.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/p-is-for-painting/
        there’s a partial part of a painting i did of the wrens in costa rica. the first time i heard the dove, i looked into the guidebook and then laughed when i saw it’s name!
        your photos are lovely, and it’s my loss i’ve not been following!
        quothe the raven, nevermore!

        Playamart - Zeebra Designs

        December 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM

        • And your paintings are lovely, too. Thanks for the link to them.

          I meant to ask whether the rufous naped wrens say “weird people live here” in English or Spanish, or whether they’re bilingual.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 27, 2012 at 4:44 PM

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