As dawn breaks over the distant foothills of the Sierra de Tamaulipas, the rhythmic cooing of millions of white-winged dove emanates from their largest nesting colony in the world. Ignacio Fernandez, a biologist with nearby Rancho Caracol, ascends an observation tower overlooking the impressive colony in northeastern Mexico, where thick brush extends in all directions as far as the eye can see. Biologist Ignacio Cinta Fernandez said we are in Parras de la Fuente, and it is the most important nesting colony for whitewing dove in the country and estimates there are somewhere between four to ten million birds in the area. Whitewing doves are colonial nesters, and they gather in large numbers to share communal nesting sites.
While many colonies in the United States and Mexico have been displaced by habitat destruction, this swath of thousands of acres remains intact. Brownsville native Dean Putegnat from Brownsville is owner of Rancho Caracol.
The world-class hunting lodge is conveniently situated near the nesting colony and is anticipating a great whitewing season. Looks to be great, everything is green now, started raining in May which is not as early as we wanted, but we have got a lot of rain, Putegnat said. Fernandez adds, that the conservation of the area, which is protected by the state of Tamaulipas, is very important not only to whitewing dove but to all the other animals such as jaguars and ocelots that inhabit this region.