Bzzzz January 29th, 2008

According to the bird experts, mourning doves are among the most abundant birds in the U.S. I can certainly vouch for that fact judging from the visitors at my backyard feeding station.

In fact, as part of my count for Project FeederWatch this past weekend, I counted 28 mourning doves at one time! So even though the average number of mourning doves in the FeederWatch program here in Maryland is five, they are, apparently, particularly abundant in my little part of the world.

Mourning-Doves.jpg Mourning Doves

It’s curious how their behaviors have changed since they have become accustomed to all the bird feeders. When I first started feeding and watching the birds, the mourning doves would arrive–usually in pairs–and feast on the ground below the feeders where seed would be spilled or dropped by the other birds. Over time, one of the birds became more bold and learned to land on the feeders-even the smaller feeders–to feast directly from the pickings. Then two birds, then three. After a while, all the mourning doves were eating directly from the feeders. Although they still feed from the ground when they are in large numbers, the feeders are often filled with mourning doves.

Did you know the whistling sound they make when they fly is actually from their wings?

Did you know that mourning doves are monogamous and form strong bonds as pairs? (More than you can say for many humans, eh?)

Did you know that the male mourning dove will escort his mate to potential nest sites for her to choose a location. (Real estate is, apparently, her decision.)

Did you know that more than 45 million mourning doves are killed by hunters each year, including in Wisconsin, where the mourning dove is also the official symbol of peace? (Wisconsin seems a bit confused.)

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