Can it be anything else?
Received these photos and comment from Willem-Jan of a remarkable looking white dove. I concur, it looks like a Turtle Dove in bill structure, overall weight, primary projection and according to his field impression. Any comments? Has anyone come across similar in the past? Thee Turtle Dove has undergone dramatic decline in the UK and also in the Netherlands and sparked some inspiring conservation and fund-raising projects, such as here and here.
Read on. Cheers Martin
Hope all is well.
I would like to share the following pictures and thoughts with you.
On Friday 11 July I digiscoped, which I believe to be, an albinistic Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) in my area. As you can imagine, initially I was flabbergasted and in disbelief, dismissing the bird as a feral dove, as I had never seen an albinistic Turtle Dove before. Furthermore, up until then I had been completely unaware of the existence of albinistic Turtle Doves, having never come across any pictures, documented sightings or references in the available literature. However, I quickly regained my senses and decided to try to digiscope the bird because I was convinced that the bird must indeed be a Turtle Dove and I wanted to have proof of my sighting. The bird in the pictures flew like a Turtle Dove (rocky and pitching flight), acted like a Turtle Dove (kept well hidden in a high poplar, where, perhaps quite surprisingly, it could be hard to spot, and was alert), had the posture and size of a Turtle Dove, showed structural features of a Turtle Dove (e.g. the bare skin surrounding the eye) and showed up in an area (overgrown orchard) where I annually see “normal” Turtle Doves and hardly, if ever, Collared Doves. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear the bird call, which would have clinched the ID beyond any reasonable doubt, but, still, on the basis of what I had seen I could not but conclude that the bird was indeed a Turtle Dove.
I have the following questions for you:
– do you agree with my identification of the bird in the pictures as a Turtle Dove? YES!
– if so, do you know of the existence of documented sightings of albinistic Turtle Doves in the UK or anywhere else in the world? NO- but will ask our readers…
Look very much forward to hearing from you, when you have a chance.
Please feel free to put my pictures with your own comments on your excellent Birding Frontiers website for a lively discussion.
Cheers, Willem-Jan Hooijmans”
Sassenheim, The Netherlands