POSTED: 02/25/2014 12:01:00 AM MST11 COMMENTS
UPDATED: 02/25/2014 08:23:32 AM MST
GRAND JUNCTION — "Hwwwwwaaaaaaaahhh."
It's an annoying sound, described as a screech, a hiss or a nasally shriek. And it's being heard much more often these days from the backyards of Denver to the pasture lands around Cortez.
It is the sound of an avian interloper, the Eurasian collared dove. This bad bird has found its way northwest from the Bahamas and made itself at home across the United States.
It has invaded Colorado and, besides irritating humans with its noise, it bullies other birds. It has become so pervasive that some birders worry it might eventually muscle out other species like the common mourning dove.
"It is noisy and obnoxious," said William Kaempfer, a vice chancellor and provost at the University of Colorado and one of the state's pre-eminent birders.
The first Eurasian collared dove spotted by ornithologists in Colorado was in Rocky Ford in 1996. In the latest Audubon Christmas Bird Count, there were close to 19,000 in the state. They have now populated all 64 counties in Colorado. Fort Collins, with 3,177 collared doves, showed the highest concentration of the birds in the nation last year.