Date of this Version
“A Ground Dove at DeSoto NWR” from Nebraska Bird Review (March 1980) 48 (1).
A Ground Dove was sighted at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge on 18 November 1979, for about ten minutes around 11 AM, in the hedgerows opposite the entrance to the nature trail, south of the swimming beach.
It was a small dove, only slightly longer but chunkier than Tree Sparrows sitting in the same small tree. There was gray scalloping on the head and breast, the eye was dark, the beak light colored at the base, with the rest appearing dark. The wing was grayish with black speckling from shoulder to tip. We noticed a short tail when the bird was sitting, and it looked black on the underside of the tip. When it flew we were able to see the silhouette, but not the rufous patches in the wings. It had a short, stubby tail, short wings, and a rapid wing beat.
We estimated that the first sighting was at approximately 40 feet , while it sat in the tree. We observed it for about five minutes through 6x25 Bushnell binoculars and a 25x60 Bushnell scope. It flew down into a field of corn stubble. Later we observed it (at about 80 feet) at about 50 yards south, sitting in another small tree. The sun was behind us when we studied the bird sitting, but it flew in the direction of the sun.
We have observed Ground Doves on many occasions in Florida and Texas.