Morning, Dove!

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

The sun beat me this morning. By the time I hiked up the hill brilliance bounced off every rock face. A mourning dove stood on a boulder, backlit by sunrise, with a sprawl of houses below. In each of those homes people were getting out of bed, having breakfast, reading the paper, but for me and the dove there was only the surprise at meeting one another. She was calm and unconcerned by my approach. Perhaps she knew I meant no harm. The soothing coo of doves is part of desert life, like comforting background music.
Our neighbor slings millet seed for the birds from a coffee can. Every morning a row of doves perches on our back fence waiting for the hand-out. Our friend Jim said it looked like they were ready for target practice and that’s the first I knew people hunted doves. But they are among the most popular game birds.
Mourning doves are strong fliers. They erupt from the fence with resounding wing claps. They fly straight and fast, making a beeline over our house and neighborhood, towards the golf course where they find water. Unlike some desert birds doves need water and will fly ten miles each way to reach it.
These birds are often seen pecking diligently at the ground. What we can’t see is that they are stowing large quantities of seed in their crops. Later they retire to a shady place to digest. As the seeds reach the stomach or gizzard of the animal, gravel the birds have ingested works as internal teeth to grind the seeds to a pulp. Parents regurgitate crop milk for nestlings.
Mourning dove nests consist of just a few sticks that the male brings to the female so she can build her flimsy platform. We’ve had doves nest on the narrow ledge above our front door and in a low branch over the sidewalk. I’ve read that sometimes babies drop right through the bottom of the haphazard nests. Slap dash nest building comes in handy later in the summer when breezes cool eggs and babies from below. While sitting on the nest on a hot day the female absorbs heat from the eggs and pants to cool herself. She also carefully turns the eggs several times a day.
Mourning doves are one of the most abundant birds in the U.S. with a population estimated at more than 350 million birds. The reason for this is twofold. When the babies from one brood leave the nest, the father continues to feed them and keep an eye on them while mother immediately lays the eggs for another brood. And, doves can live a very long time, as many as 19 years in the wild.


9 responses to “Morning, Dove!

  1. Wow, that’s what I was searching for, what a material!
    present here at this weblog, thanks admin of this website.

  2. I like what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve added you guys to our blogroll.

  3. It’s very simple to find out any matter on web as compared to books,
    as I found this piece of writing at this web site.

  4. Thanks , I’ve just been looking for information about this topic for a
    long time and yours is the best I’ve found out so
    far. But, what concerning the conclusion? Are you positive in regards to the supply?

  5. Awesome blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?

    I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there
    that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Bless

  6. Pingback: Good Morning, Mourning Dove | The Right Hue

  7. I follow your blog, Gail, and just love your insights into nature. The mourning dove reflection was perfect. My “own” pair join me for coffee most mornings.

  8. Bouncing brilliance off of every rock….stunning! So nicely said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s