georgia's picture

Collared Dove deaths, is there anything more to it?

Observed: 9th April 2010 By: georgiageorgia’s reputation in Birds
100409 002
100409 003
100409 004

10 Days ago I found a Collared Dove dead on the ground apparently untouched by cat (I acknowledge it could have been killed and left?). It appeared to have sat on the ground underneath its roosting tree and died. This morning i found another apparently untouched dead collared Dove sat on the ground under its roosting tree. I also have a third Collared Dove who keeps sitting on the ground in the garden in the middle of the afternoon and settling down to sleep, it is not having a dust or ant bath. It seems to have a distended croup (fat neck), but if i approach it, it flies off fine. The 2 dead doves don't appear to have a fat neck. There have been a family of Collared Doves in my garden since i moved in 7 years ago. Is this something to be worried about, poisoning or disease? Or is it nothing but nature. Has anyone else noticed anything similar?

Species interactions

No interactions present.


anonymous spotter's picture

Collared Dove Mortality

There are lots of things that kill birds, as I expect you know. In gardens, domestic cats are probably the most likely suspects.
But the apparently swollen necks are interesting. Could they have eaten poisoned grain bait put down for something else? Or maybe some dry food that has swollen up with water after being eaten?
The other alternative, perhaps, is disease: there my knowledge fails completely. If there are several deaths, then it is would suggest that whatever it is, it's infectious. Washing your hands well after handling is recommended!

dshubble's picture

Dove diseases

Pigeons (and I believe doves) suffer from all sorts of respiratory ailments, some similar to colds. The bacterial respiratory infections mycoplasmosis and ornithosis can both cause crop swelling and an unwillingness to fly. Their own immune systems deal with it and they survive, or not - as we attract birds into our gardens, we start to notice events like this which would otherwise happen elsewhere. Pigeons etc carry quite a few diseases transferrable to humans, so Roger's advice about hand-washing is good,


georgia's picture

Thank you.

Thanks, I assume its just nature taking its course. I thought it would be interesting to post on a site like this to see if it denoted a problem sweeping the area? I will keep an eye on the others anyway, Yes I have washed my hands!! Thank you.

Kluut's picture

Dead collared doves

A pigeon is a dove, is a pigeon - they are one and the same - racing pigeons are domesticated rock doves, columba palumbus is known by various names - wood-pigeon, ring-dove etc..
The slight swelling of the neck is probably due to a degree of fermentation of the crop contents - in other words - gas build-up.
One bird seems to have been dead quite a while as its eye(s) have dried-out and sunken in.
The common diseases of pigeons mentioned by Dave usually, but not invariably, produce a stickiness/gumminess around the beak and/or eyes - which neither bird seems to show.

With no obvious external symptoms, it is impossible to hazard a guess at likely cause of death, although the near perfect state of the feathers would tend to rule-out any kind of predation.

All birds can carry diseases transmissible to man.

anonymous spotter's picture

Dead birds

An afterthought that should have occurred earlier: if you or your neighbours have feeders or bird baths, it is worth disinfecting them (using something that won't harm the birds) if Dave is right about a respiratory disease.

RHoman's picture

Same here

3 dead Collared Doves here in my Cheltenham garden this winter with similar symptoms of a swollen crop and lethargic birds. There was an outbreak of disease some years ago at Slimbridge which resulted in a considerable reduction in Collared Dove numbers. I think this was put down to a respitatory infection. There might be a link between the increase in the number of birds in an area and their propensity to catch/spread infections. I have certainly seen an increase in CDs here in the last few months, and the population at Slimbridge at the time had increased a great deal, probably due to the ready availability of grain.


Robert Homan

Kluut's picture

The swollen area should not

The swollen area should not be confused with anything respiratory. Birds have tiny lungs attached to the inside of the backbone and rely heavily on pneumatic channels within the body rather than the lungs, for gas exchange.
The organs at the base of the neck of a bird are part of the digestive system.