OK, this is another pretty crappy picture (taken through the kitchen window screen), but I was thrilled to finally confirm that the big dove I had spotted when I got home from work this morning was, in fact, the Eurasian Collared Dove!
I spotted this really big, light colored dove trying to land near the ground feeder tray late this morning when I was making my sandwich at the kitchen sink, and then a noisy crow flew down and scared the dove away. Later on when I was filling the bird feeders, I saw this dove fly away with a bunch of mourning doves from one of my pine trees (where MODOs like to hang out). I knew right away it wasn't a MODO because of the squared tail with a white band across the bottom. I waited all afternoon and finally around 4:30 I happened to spot it on the ground again and that's when I got this picture. You can just barely see the black "collar" on its neck, but the dark primary wing feathers and squared tail are pretty obvious. Here's how my big Sibley's describes this bird: Much larger and heavier than Mourning Dove, with square tail; pale overall.
I had one of these show up in my backyard in March of 2006. That was a first confirmed sighting in Olmsted County in like forever, and now here's another one. For some of you folks in the southern and eastern US, I think this is probably a fairly common backyard bird, and I've heard their numbers are increasing even here in far southeast Minnesota, but they're still uncommon enough for people (like me) to get excited about.