Bird of the Week (3/9/2014): Mourning Dove

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Posynut_NY_zone4 7 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #5111258 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    As a little girl waiting for the school bus early every morning, I would hear plenty of birds chattering away. But one song always stood out for me – that sad sweet “COO-oo coooo, coo-coo” of the Mourning Dove. To anyone who’s ever heard it, the song is unmistakable. (If you’ve never heard it, click here and choose the Bird Song & Range Map tab.) For a long time, I thought the name of the bird was the “Morning Dove”, since I always heard it in the morning! When I got a little older and found out it was really “Mourning Dove”, that made sense to me too… their call is so sad and, well, mournful.

    Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) are found all over the U.S. and southern Canada, as well as down through Mexico. (See a range map here.) They’re fairly large birds, with a wingspan up to 18 inches. They often congregate in large flocks, especially under bird feeders where seed has fallen to the ground. They’ll visit feeders too in some areas, but only if they have a place to perch while they eat. (They’re too large to cling to mesh-style feeders.) They also love large sturdy bird baths.

    Anyone who watches Mourning Doves will notice that they seem to make a whole lot of sharp whistling noises when taking off or landing. Interestingly, those sounds aren’t coming from the birds’ mouths – it’s coming from the air moving through their feathers! Once a Mourning Dove lands and starts feeding, it will stay put for quite a while unless scared away. These birds have the ability to store a large number of seeds in a special pouch called a crop. Once the crop is full, they fly away to digest their meal. This explains why a group of Mourning Doves can empty your platform feeder in just a few minutes!

    Don’t confuse Mourning Doves with other doves found in the U.S. and Canada. There are a variety of other doves, including the invasive Eurasian Collared Dove. This dove is easily distinguished by the black collar marking on its neck. If you’re not sure which dove you’ve seen, check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s page for Mourning Doves. At the bottom of the page, you can compare Mourning Doves to other dove species.

    Where and when do you see or hear Mourning Doves? Do you have any photos to share, or stories to tell? Tell us more about your own experiences with our Bird of the Week!


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5111291 Report Abuse
    plantdoctorzn4
    plantdoctorzn4
    Participant

    Jill…this is one of my favorite birds.  We have had resident Mourning Doves here for years.  They are not even scared of me when I am in the garden.  They often just sit there and watch me to see what I am doing.  I was able to get this picture a couple of years ago.  These babies aren’t even frightened of me….or the camera….lol.



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    #5111342 Report Abuse
    Magnolia15
    Magnolia15
    Participant

    Love my doves, they sure do know how to relax.



    -birdsofthebog.com

    #5111352 Report Abuse
    Paleface
    Paleface
    Participant

    Who can not like their mournful cooing calls? I can’t imagine like without them.

    Mine visit visit a couple of my feeders every day. They can be pigs!



    http://jean-livingsimple.blogspot.com (The Joy of Bird Watching and Living a Simple Life)
    Jean in NW Georgia

    #5111563 Report Abuse
    steve232__nc
    steve232__nc
    Participant

    I love seeing and hearing mourning doves. At times they come here by the tens to eat under my feeders.



    Community Team Member
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    #5112376 Report Abuse
    Stelios
    Stelios
    Participant

    I can remember when at least a dozen of mourning doves would cover the trees in my backyard.  Then all of a sudden they were almost all gone…..with the exception of a couple showing up once in a while.  Now I am not sure.  I do remember filling feeders with mixed seeds.  Ok, the squirrels made a mess.  They chose the seeds they liked best, and the rest was dumped on the ground.  That must have brought the doves to feed.  When I stopped that because of the mess, I suppose that is the reason for the decline around here.



    Stella
    Community Team Member

    #5113500 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    I think one of my favorites things about these birds is their blue eyeshadow! I never really realized it until I took those shots above. I have a small flock that shows up at my feeders late every afternoon, like clockwork. Yeah, they clean them out pretty quickly, but I just don’t have the heart to chase them away!

     


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5114396 Report Abuse
    theLark_IN_5
    theLark_IN_5
    Participant

    Mother dove with baby in nest

     


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    #5114409 Report Abuse
    CatsBirds
    CatsBirds
    Participant

    I love the little bits of purple you see on their necks…



    Sharon, Catsbirds, Community Team Member
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    #5114410 Report Abuse
    CatsBirds
    CatsBirds
    Participant

    I love listening to them…



    Sharon, Catsbirds, Community Team Member
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    #5114419 Report Abuse
    theLark_IN_5
    theLark_IN_5
    Participant

    Whole family getting ready to leave nest

     


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    #5114420 Report Abuse
    CatsBirds
    CatsBirds
    Participant

    Young love….



    Sharon, Catsbirds, Community Team Member
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    #5114434 Report Abuse
    Carol Johnson
    Carol Johnson
    Participant

    wow what wonderful pictures I love the doves …



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    #5114437 Report Abuse
    theLark_IN_5
    theLark_IN_5
    Participant

    Have you noticed each dove has a different arrangement of dots on its wings. Kinda like our fingerprints. :)


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    #5115592 Report Abuse
    SunshineNY6
    SunshineNY6
    Participant



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