By Jennifer Nixon, Denver Zoo Bird Keeper
Introducing this week’s Feathered Friend, Jasmine. She is a green-winged dove (Chalcophaps indica). They are sometimes called emerald doves, green-backed doves or green pigeons. Jasmine will turn 12 years old this April. She is currently incubating a nest with her mate in the Rainforest room of Bird World. Jasmine has had nine chicks since she came to Denver Zoo and she is a very good mother. She shares the incubation duties with her mate equally. She usually has the day off and works the night shift so she can usually be seen perched in the trees or foraging for food on the ground around the large pool during the day. She wears an orange band on her right leg. Jasmine is a very sweet bird with a very calm personality. One keeper even jokingly says that she will come to them when they sing the Emerald Dove song.
Jasmine eats things like fruit, greens, formulated bird pellets and insects on occasion. A couple days before her chick hatches, Jasmine and her mate may choose to stop eating their normal food in preparation for their chick. Doves and pigeons produce what is called crop milk, which is a secretion from the lining of the parents’ crop that is regurgitated to the newly hatched chick called a “squab.” In order to not contaminate the crop milk with whole food items the parents often stop eating for a few days prior to their egg hatching.
In the wild, green-winged doves have a very wide range from the India subcontinent to Australia and are known to be rather common. They live in dense woodlands and rainforest. They will fly to more open spaces to forage on the ground for food. Green-winged doves have an overall calm personality and when disturbed they frequently will walk away instead of flying, although they will fly if pursued.
Stop by the Rainforest room in Bird World, sponsored by Frontier Airlines, to check on Jasmine and her hopefully growing family.