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Desert Diary
Ecology/White-winged Doves


Once, many years ago, numerous ecologists thought that plant and animal communities were natural units that changed little in composition through time—indeed, were units whose members were evolutionarily adapted to one another. When environments changed, it was assumed that the whole community moved as a single entity. More recently, however, it's become evident that the makeup of many such communities are in more or less constant flux—as environments change, some species no longer find the necessities of life and are lost; other species, finding conditions now suitable, move in.

We see this currently in many of our Chihuahuan Desert communities as various species move in and out. One change that is a joy to many people is the increasingly abundant White-winged Doves. Not too many decades ago, this bird was common in the Rio Grande Valley only in southern Texas, extending in small numbers into the Trans-Pecos Texas portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. Today, this is a common dove in the El Paso region, in many places outnumbering that long-time inhabitant, the Mourning Dov
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Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso. rule

White-winged dove

White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica. Photograph courtesy of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. rule