Feathering The Nest

This is a Mourning Dove.  The 'mourning' part of the name has been explained in different ways:  the sad, grieving, mournful cooing sounds they make – especially nice to wake up to on an overcast morning.  This moniker could also refer to their coloring, which is a seamless blend of gray, lavendar and beige…an accepted color to wear when one is in mourning.  It doesn't always have to be  black gowns, veils, and jet beads, you know.  (I wear that to work, anyway) Another theory I've heard – a charming one – is that, since pairs are monogomous, the mourning dove will 'mourn' for its deceased mate, often until it dies itself.

This particular dove has made its nest – admittedly not the best-kept one – in boyfriend's tool shed.  It's a favorite spot for some obscure reason – it seems rather uncomfortable!  Other doves have chosen this as their nursery, so I'm wondering if she is a repeat nester.  A quick visit to Wikipedia.org tells me that in a couple of weeks the bebehs, or 'squabs' should appear.  Mom keeps them well hid, merely becoming fluffier as she tries to protect her little ones against intruders (i.e. boyfriend and myself).  The only sign that her family has new additions would be a few chips of egg shell on the floor.

Dad, when he's not out drinking with the boids, keeps watch – either on a nearby telephone pole, or on top of the garage.  When he senses trouble, he'd zoom in, land, and then mimic having a broken wing, dragging it behind him, hoping to lure danger away from the precious nest.  But in this case 'danger' is usually boyfriend taking out the garbage, so there are really no fears for these dears.

I took this particular picture.  I felt so guilty.  Even when I check her progress, I feel bad.  Because she Refuses To Move.  I can just tell that her tiny bird body is stiff, and that she is TERRIFIED.  But she doesn't budge.  I keep on murmering, "I'm sorry, birdie; I'm sorry, birdie."

Both of these birds are only doing what instinct orders them to do, but I still find them terribly brave.

And these pretty creatures are also very popular gamebirds.

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10 responses to “Feathering The Nest

  1. Oh dear.I love mourning doves.We had a pair briefly.There'd been high winds, and later Girlcat came home late at night.(Up three flights of stairs, over the porch rail onto the roof, up into the window and down to the desk.)She came into where I was reading and mumbled at me.I looked, and something was definitely up.I go over and she drops two juvenile mourning doves onto the floor in front of me, none the worse for wear.Proud as all get out about it too.We looked to try to put them back in their nest, but it seemed to be about a million miles up in a pine tree.So we passed them along to bird fostering people (after many phone calls).Bertie and Birda — they were so sweet.

  2. Aha – mourning doves. That's the one that died in my friend's hands. :(They're very, ahem, saintly sorta birds, aren't they? Not a hint of aggression, no loud screeching or squawking. Just cooing and rumbling noises (that sound a lot like a hungry stomach.)

  3. I love mourning doves. In the first house I lived in, there were tons of mourning doves that would perch on telephone wires. I vividly remember sitting on the swing in my backyard on Saurday mornings and listening to them.

  4. I love doves too! Mourning doves are very calm and unassuming.Sadly though, doves aren't the brightest bird on the block. If you're driving and one is in the way of your tires, DON'T ASSUME that they'll move…Plus their nest-building skills sometimes consist of 2 twigs placed against a ledge somewhere — where the egg rolls off when it's unattended…&:o(We had pet doves for a couple of years — one pair raised a couple of sweet babies. The babies are so gangley and "ugly" in that "ugly" way that's ACTUALLY *cute*!When we'd let them out of their cages, they used to love finding a spot of sunlight on the floor — they'd hunker down and spread their wings out – trying to soak up every bit of warm sunlight that they could!The cooing of a happy dove is one of the most *peaceful* and satisfying sounds I've ever heard —– just like a happy kitty purr!I hope your little dove family is happy & well. &:o)

  5. [This is teh Awesome]
    Mourning doves are so pretty, in a quiet, understated way. I used to wake up to their coos when I was a kid.
    Congratulations on the dove family in your shed.

  6. They aren't the brightest birds, but they definitely have a sort of mournful dignity. I see a pair of them every morning, as they feed with the sparrows and cardinals outside my office window. (Some mysterious benefactor scatters bird seed every morning before I arrive to work.)

  7. Yes, they have no reason to be house-proud. This one seems to have collected a beakful of random twigs, and then on seeing such an inviting brush, decided to take it over, embellishing it with said twigs. She probably feels very deluxe!
    Boyfriend has seen eggs end in tragedy too, or – as he says – sometimes they're just 'duds' and the birds desert it to try again later.

  8. 'Mourning Dove' was the first bird call I learned to imitate. I heard them when I woke up at my grandparent's farm in the summers. (I thought they were Morning Doves because of this.) The only ones I've ever seen in a nest were 2 juveniles I found in one of my pine trees a while back. They were sitting on some twigs where the branch met the trunk, at about eye level. It's a wonder the cats didn't eat them, and that they didn't tilt the nest and fall off! One wrong step …

  9. how beautiful to have mourning doves nest in your shed.

  10. Dragging a wing? Wow, how interesting. Amazing thing, nature.

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