Tag Archives: Mourning Dove

Dove time


Evening is dove time.

They come and sit in the feeder, maybe nibbling a few seeds.


They perch on the rim of the heated bird bath, sip a few sips, and sometimes sit right in the water like they are in a dove hot tub.


They can be very still for a long time. Sometimes they face the sunset through the trees and seem to be watching and enjoying the last light.


A peaceful bird is a peaceful sight, a visual lullaby before the night.

The mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) is a member of the dove family (Columbidae). The bird is also called the turtle dove or the American mourning dove or rain dove, and formerly was known as the Carolina pigeon or Carolina turtledove.


The Dove announces the approach of spring. Nay, she does more:–she forces us to forget the chilling blasts of winter, by the soft and melancholy sound of her cooing. Her heart is already so warmed and so swelled by the ardour of her passion, that it feels as ready to expand as the buds on the trees are, under the genial influence of returning heat. – John James Audubon

A peaceful bird

mourning dove

Mourning dove and fresh snow.

A flight of six doves has been visiting the tube feeder and porch railing off and on this morning.

mourning dove

Doves are calm and calming. The yin to blue jay-and-starling yang.

There is actually a species of dove called the Peaceful Dove, native to Australia and New Guinea.

And just because I feel like it, two depictions of doves in ancient and medieval art…


Doves raiding a jewelry box, from the House of Fauns in Pompeii.


Doves perch in a peridexion tree, where they are safe from the dragons waiting below. The dragons cannot catch the doves unless they leave the tree.

Bird watching a(nother) snowstorm

White-throated Sparrow close up

One White-throated Sparrow.

More big snow yesterday. What else was there to do but watch birds?

Anyway, it was one of my two counting days per week for Project Feederwatch.

FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.

White-breasted Nuthatch

One White-breasted Nuthatch.

I bet there are two that visit our feeders, I just didn’t see them at the same time on Sunday or Monday.

Mourning Dove

Subtly beautiful colors, a Mourning Dove.

I like their calmness, as the other birds flit and flap. The most I saw at once: 7.

Downy Woodpecker male

A male Downy Woodpecker, black and white with a little red cap.

In two days I counted 96 individual birds of 19 species. Three downies, one male and two females.


Five Tufted Titmice in total, but with the definite impression I am missing some as they move so quickly. Although not quickly enough for the snow. This is the first time I noticed snow building up on some birds! What a February we are having. And today is only the 10th.

Purple Finch Valentine

A little birdie Valentine: Purple Finch.

The state bird of New Hampshire looks lovely in snow. I counted two males yesterday.


The pestiferous though kinda pretty European Starling.

At one point there were 9 in the birch trees watching the feeders, as I stood on the other side of the sliding glass door and watched them. They are spooked by people, still, but I bet they will learn fast to ignore us.

They seem to eat anything but especially like my homemade suet dough. So do the bluebirds – who are not afraid of me. I scared the starlings away a few times so the bluebirds could eat too. I may need to consider a special starling-excluding feeder if I get too many of them.

This week’s Project Feederwatch totals…

Mourning Dove 7
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 5
Black-capped Chickadee 10
Tufted Titmouse 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Eastern Bluebird 6
European Starling 9
American Tree Sparrow 12
White-throated Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 12
Northern Cardinal 13
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Purple Finch 2
Pine Siskin 1
American Goldfinch 5

Flickr album: February 9 snowstorm birds

Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow, with its rusty-red buzzcut hairdo.

Steve Grinley: Bird Feeders Help Birds Survive, and Breed Successfully

It has been a harsh winter here in New England and feeding birds can certainly help them survive. Birds that have stayed the winter or migrated from further north to feast on natural seeds and fruit in our area will be finding that the winter supply of natural food is being depleted. Our resident birds appreciate the added handout that feeders provide. In addition to the nourishment that bird seed and suet provide, the birds expend less energy and burn less fat, helping them to survive the cold. A number of birds that don’t normally stay the winter or that may be here accidentally and are not used to New England weather are particularly helped by seed and suet at feeders.

The dove digests

mourning dove

Mourning dove in a tree at the edge of our yard.

Mourning doves eat almost exclusively seeds, which make up more than 99% of their diet. Rarely, they will eat snails or insects. Mourning doves generally eat enough to fill their crops and then fly away to digest while resting. They often swallow grit such as fine gravel or sand to assist with digestion. The species usually forages on the ground, walking but not hopping. At bird feeders, mourning doves are attracted to one of the largest ranges of seed types of any North American bird, with a preference for canola, corn, millet, safflower, and sunflower seeds. Mourning doves do not dig or scratch for seeds, instead eating what is readily visible.

mourning dove

The mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) is a member of the dove family (Columbidae). The bird is also called the turtle dove or the American mourning dove or rain dove, and formerly was known as the Carolina pigeon or Carolina turtledove. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds. It is also the leading gamebird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and for meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure stems from its prolific breeding: in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods a year. The wings can make an unusual whistling sound upon take-off and landing. The bird is a strong flier, capable of speeds up to 88 km/h (55 mph).

mourning dove

The mourning dove is a related species to the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), which was hunted to extinction in the early 1900s. For this reason, the possibility of using mourning doves for cloning the passenger pigeon has been discussed.

Millais Return of the Dove to the Ark

The Return of the Dove to the Ark, 1851, John Everett Millais

Two doves and a rabbit

rabbit and mourning doves

A night visit from a raccoon makes a bird food mess. Mourning Doves and a fat rabbit are happy to clean up.

Doves seem to prefer feeding on the ground. Rabbits love the clover taking over our imperfect lawn.

rabbit and doves

We haven’t seen so many rabbits – one or two a day, mornings and evenings – for many years. I think the predator population, coyotes especially, is at a low point.

I don’t know if this is a mated pair of doves, but there has been much mating of doves around here lately – with all the wing-whistling flappings and flutterings that go with the courtship dance of Zenaida macroura.

The mourning dove is monogamous and forms strong pair bonds. Pairs typically reconvene in the same area the following breeding season, and sometimes may remain together throughout the winter.

Ah the wonders of YouTube. Here is a pet ring-necked dove having a bath in a kitchen sink.

Zen bird

Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves look like they are wearing blue eye shadow.

Zenaida macroura are members of the Columbidae, or dove, family. I think they are a very pretty gray-brown color. I would paint a room – maybe a study – in “Mourning Dove.”

mourning dove

A photo I took in February.

I feel calm when I look at a calm dove.

They like sunflower seeds, millet and corn. They like to feed on the ground, but sometimes I see them relaxing in the tray of the tube feeder, nibbling a seed or two, or just staring off into space.

They get along with my chickens. Last night I watched two feeding with a fat brown rabbit under the pole feeder. They stuff their crops (just like chickens) then go roost and digest their meals.

Child With a Dove Picasso

Child With a Dove, Pablo Picasso, 1901

Henri Matisse sketching a dove. Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Dove in Rhodes

I took this photo of a dove a couple of years ago in Rhodes, Greece.