Monday, August 25, 2014

White-winged Dove

I have already written about the recent range extension of White-winged Doves. Here I researched the doves' food preferences. Birds in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona prefer saguaro seeds, which are found in cup-shaped fruits, resulting in easy consumption.  White-winged Doves occurring further east prefer larger-seeded plants, and often cultivated ones.

Interestingly, seeds of the Century Plant, the largest agave in Big Bend National Park, are not listed in Schwertner et al.’s (2002) list of preferred foods. This White-winged Dove feasted on the agave’s seed pods. It is perhaps noteworthy that the seeds lie in cup-shaped fruits. Notice that both of the dove’s eyes are closed as it ate.

The agave is called a “century plant,” although it blooms once after 20-50 years.  Century plants have many human uses, including mescal and tequila. I assume these plants were cultivated, grown in front of the Chisos Mountain hotel.

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