The Mourning Dove. A rather common species of bird in the city. A sometimes common species of bird to my backyard. Some days or weeks there can be up to half a dozen motoring about the property and other times for many days none.
They do not have a reputation on being the most brilliant bird in the city. Their nesting habits can be quite threatening to the survival of their species. A nest built very loosely of twigs that one can see through the bottom of it. A startled adult Mourning Dove can fly out of the nest in such haste and actually destroy it accidentally... and the eggs within. Often, a startled adult Mourning Dove can also abandon a nest of eggs if they feel threatened by humans or predators in the area.
But, lets not dwell on these facts of the Mourning Dove.
I welcome these birds to my yard. Some refer to them as another form of Pigeon but I would argue that till my last breath. The Mourning Doves at least have some backyard feeding etiquette. They are not aggressive, they are not piggish, their bathing techniques are quite graceful.
I can always tell when one is flying in before I see it as their wings whistle when flying.
My concern for these visitors is the fact they are ground feeders. I do have one platform feeder; a pair of them will sit in and feed but often it is cleaned out by the Squirrels or knocked to the ground... so it's not used very often unless we are outside much of the day to keep an eye on it. The thin black chains are difficult to find in the grass.
So, with their ground feeding, they spend much time roosting or just sitting around and especially so on warm sunny days. The early sunny days of Spring had us find one pair enjoying every bit of sun light in the yard for as many days there was high sun over a week.
It's not so bad as you can see in these photos with them being out in the open spaces; but at times they also spend it in the developing bird garden of mine. If it was within the Honeysuckle Bush or other shrubs, providing some cover, that would be great, but that just isn't the case. I often worry about some cat around the other side of the bush just waiting silently. So, what's the deal? Are they just that dumb or that comfortable on the property? We try our best to keep the area free of roaming cats. Meadow is on a leash and harness, unable to get anywhere near the bird garden. We keep super-soakers nearby when neighbours' cats decide to pass through or try to get a thrilling hunt on. We just can't be out there all the time or watchful all the time.
I know they just aren't the most brilliant of the feathered friends who visit but I would like to think that maybe they do feel a little safer here. I mean, there's birds here all the time, there's many species of birds here all the time. Some of the others are keeping a watchful eye about the area for predators (cats, hawks, etc) and let off quite a shriek when danger lurks. As seen in the next photo, an American Kestrel flew in to a tree nearby, an alert was set off and everybody went off into hiding... well, everybody except these two. Their eyes opened a little more, their heads popped up but they never moved from that spot. Once again... are they dumb? Are they comfortable? Did they feel this was their own way of protecting themselves, by being more or less still? I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I mean they cannot be that dumb... they still exist.
As pictured below, this is how I like to see the Doves. Safe up in the trees. While the one on the right was at the end of a yawn... it would seem he is enjoying the sun, the company of his mate and possibly a good story (maybe his compliments to the chef of the feed they just had below or pooping on the neighbour's cat)...
What do you think?