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Greetings!

Please excuse the multiple recent posts, but I know some people that may want to know about the White-winged Doves' status in East Prairie, MO.

Today after finishing riding bicycles in East Prairie's "Tour de Corn" cycling event the wife and I stopped in at Prairie Queen. Not only was this for Ice cream and lunch for having completed the 30 mile route, but is also a strategic spot for the possibility of observing the White-winged Doves. While waiting for our food, we met and talked with other cyclists from Jefferson City (one also who has a Life List). We spoke about the White-winged Dove possibility, but I wasn't hearing or seeing the bird.

A little history here: At least 5 years ago (and before), there were three (3) birds present. I think two years ago, one was harvested during Dove hunting season, then only one bird was observed that following winter. The past year and a half, I have on 4 attempts tried to relocate these resident birds . . . without success.

Until today. After finishing our meal, we climbed (I reluctantly) into the truck and began driving away from the Prairie Queen when I see a large-ish type dove land on the power line before my truck. With too much traffic to stop or pull over (no shoulder), I had to go down, turn around and come back (my wife held hostage to this birder's whim of confirming I.D.). The bird was still there. BINGO! White-winged Dove indeed. My heart was skipping beats as I pulled into what used to be the Jehovah's Witness church parking lot and was able to digiscope the bird on the utility wire. I experience a certain elation while observing this species! Not sure if it's the red iris contrasting with the sky-blue eye-shadow, the black patch of "war paint" on its cheek, the elegant white stripe that accentuates its sleek form, its pink stockings, or its soft crooning "Who cooks for you?" call!

It was calling while I was digiscoping it. A second WW Dove was answering its call from the back yard of the house adjacent to the Prairie Queen. With this being adjacent to Hwy. 80 (an artery to East Prairie), the traffic and road noise was at a fairly high level and I thought I heard a third WW Dove calling over the second concealed WW dove in the back yard, though couldn't be certain.

A somewhat backlit (yet diagnostic) image can be viewed here:
http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2224031740086129715EtWyXC

Those interested in location:
Heading South on I-55; Exit the East Prairie (HWY 80) Exit; drive East on Hwy 80. As you enter East Prairie and the speed limit drops from 55 mph to 35 mph, look to the right watching for Prairie Queen (small white building a little set back from the road). There is a fairly large cemetery on the left across the road. This is the area where the birds can/may be observed. Watch power lines and exposed branches in adjacent yards.

Now for the meat and taters:
Along the 30 mile route while encountering two flat tires, I was able to observe 52 live species of birds and one road kill Barn Owl. <sad> The birds were calling in good number and voice the whole morning. I was pleasantly surprised (not expecting to hear) a Lark Sparrow, until I realized, looking around, the spot we were riding through was decent habitat for Lark Sparrows; duh! Several Blue Grosbeaks. A Mississippi Kite was observed over East Prairie (thanks to Dennis Wheeler, who was volunteering in a SAG vehicle, for the tip).

Time to recover . . . liquids and keep 'em coming!

Good Birding!!!

Chris Barrigar
 
Stoddard Co.
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