Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #17

Chris Watson

Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis

On the lookout for ferals

G’day bird lovers, this week, instead of the usual bulletin, we are looking at invasive pests with a particular focus on the bird above – the Feral Spotted Turtle-dove. This is an introduced species which bullies our smaller native doves out of their own habitats.

            Land For Wildlife are continuing their program of feral dove monitoring and trapping, with a special effort on counting the birds throughout February. With the size and distribution of the population established, trapping efforts can be targeted in March to the feral dove ‘hotspots’.

            We’re asking for community involvement with this program. All through February surveys will be conducted on Saturday mornings at 8am, and here’s the best part - you can help by staying at home! Just count all the feral spotted turtle-doves you can find on your property in the 10 minutes from 8am each Saturday, starting tomorrow. Anyone can participate and the more people who get involved the more accurate our picture of the feral dove population will be.

            Our month of monitoring will culminate with a dove trapping workshop on the 26th of February at Bloomin’ Deserts Nursery on Hele Crescent at 10am.  We’ll show you how to build a trap and start catching feral doves on your property, and specialist animal keepers from Alice Springs Desert Park will be on hand to explain how important the trapped doves become as part of the diet of captive and rehabilitated animals. 

            So get out and start counting tomorrow. All you need to do is email your total feral dove count for each Saturday morning, along with your address, to

Remember, if you don’t find any feral doves you can still send us an email – this is good news that we need to hear as well.

            For more identification tips and information about Land For Wildlife’s feral Spotted Turtle-dove trapping program you can visit and follow the links to Land For Wildlife.

Happy counting!