March 2, 2011

That’s not an owl… spoiler alert it’s a Mourning dove

photo by Anne Greene
Known for its plaintive five noted call, the Mourning dove is one of the most abundant birds in all of North America. The plump, rosy gray and tan bird likes to walk solemnly under bird feeders and post up in trees and on telephone wires in small numbers. With a long pointed tail and telling wing whir, the Mourning dove is a fast and surprisingly agile flier. When the dove takes to the air it creates a distinctive noise with its wings, similar to the sound Curly made when poked in the eye by one of the other Stooges.  

Found in all of the lower 48 states the Mourning dove has been exciting and deceiving people for years. “There’s an owl on the roof!” The truth is that the sad yet melodious series of “hoos” is a Mourning dove. In the spring male doves begin singing before dawn and carry on to dusk. The haunting song adds a dreaminess to a midday nap in June with the windows laid wide to the ocean. Learn and listen for the call of the Mourning dove and begin to hear the “non-owl”call, another sign that spring has arrived.

2 comments:

Laurie said...

So true! I've always thought of Curly when the dove takes off in flight! I always think of the song "Foreign Lander" when I see a mourning dove. "Have you heard the mourning dove, she's flying from pine to pine. She's mourning for her own love, the way I mourn for mine."
Such a funny contrast from thinking about Curly, to those truly mournful lyrics...

Anonymous said...

Funny contrast indeed, especially considering that it's the MALE we hear, not the female!

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is an educator, bird watcher, and writer fascinated by the intersections of place, people, nature, and culture. He works for Mass Audubon and lives in the heart of Massachusetts. For questions or comments please contact: alexanderjosephdunn@gmail.com

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