Fine Feathered Friends – May 23rd

Another bird that’s common around here (like the mockingbirds) is the mourning dove.

Being “common” isn’t a slam, just a fact. The finches are common, and they got a ton of press here when they had a nest right outside the kitchen window last year.

I’ve tended to focus on the “new” species (the hummingbirds, the juncos, the wrens, the woodpeckers, and so on) and have some more coming up, but I don’t want to let the “common” species get shortchanged.

So, many of you have probably seen mourning doves, or heard them.

They have that stereotypical dove body and head, gray-ish brown with darker spots.

Also look for the weird, brighter than average red feet. (Well, *I* think they’re weird.)

Lots of folks will hear that call and think it’s an owl, particularly since mourning doves will continue to call past sunset and will start before sunrise. It’s not an owl, although the sounds are a bit similar.

They’re not the fastest birds in the race, and when they take off (slowly…) there’s a a lot of noise and wing flapping and some rapid, high-pitched “coo! coo! coo!” sounds with each flap as they grunt sort of like a tennis player with a monstrous serve.

In this neighborhood, a couple of times of year we’ll find a patch of mourning dove feathers spread out over a few square yards of lawn. That’s what a slow takeoff will get you in a neighborhood full of real owls and hawks.

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