Hyper-local Birds: Mourning Dove
This bird or a close cousin and others like it contribute to the morning music in and around the South Common. With its many trees and bushes, the Common is an aviary of sorts, especially at this time of year. I don’t know the bird types well enough to list them here, but I’ve seen at least 20 different kinds of birds on the Common. In the early morning they pick at the ground and swoop down by the pool to get crumbs from the kids’ snacks. The mourning doves make the same “hoo-hoo” sound I heard from them on the island of St. Lucia, where my family vacationed in winters past. The doves were a familiar sight in that tropical landscape. Here, I often see a solitary dove perched atop a telephone pole. The call is unmistakable. Beyond the sparrows, robins, crows, and blue jays that I know by sight, I’d be interested to know about the other urban birds if some of our readers can name the local flying creatures. I haven’t seen them lately, but I’ve seen seagulls grazing on the sports field on the floor of the Common. (Photo: Courtesy of Gainesville State College in Georgia website)
7 Responses to Hyper-local Birds: Mourning Dove
Ever notice that they (Mourning Doves) seem sometimes to roost
on the ground for the night, and if you stumble upon them, or, I think any time they take flight suddenly, they let out a succession of short chirps as if the flapping of the wings is forcing these little sounds out of them. There must be some old folk legends explaining what they’re mourning for.
I have seen more Mourning Doves than ever before this year.(in the last few years I had not see any) I have two nests of Mouring Doves in the spruce tree in my back yard. The invasion of Mourning Doves! – its species name “macroura” is Greek for “long-tailed.”
I am in Pawtucketville and I have seen and heard cardinals, chickadees, red-winged blackbirds, goldfinches, and, of course, pigeons. I have also seen quite a few hawks circling over Route 3.
One more comment for the birds: I grew up in the Highlands; when I was a kid I never saw a single cardinal. We had a ton of blue jays. In the last 20 years or so, the cardinals have crept up here-there are quite a few in my neighborhood, and not as many blue jays.
I rarely saw a hawk when I was a kid either; it’s like Wild Kingdom in the highlands now; there was one in a tree in my yard a while back tearing a pigeon to bits.
My neighbor just reported a coyote trotting through his yard, and I had a fisher cat in mine last Spring. We have woodchucks, skunks, the rare racoon. Someone suggested that the increase in animal activity is due to the fact that years ago there were no leash laws. (Hard to believe now), but the dogs running free all over the city kept the wild animals out of the populated areas.
I concur with Steve about the prevalence of Cardinals over Blue Jays in the Highlands these days. We also have a lot of crows dining on the bugs that inhabit my lawn.
A couple of years ago a neighbor told me that she’d seen a hawk devour a squirrel at the base of a big tree in my front yard. That night I cut the grass and was on close lookout for squirrel body parts within the crime scene. Finding none, I began to doubt the neighbor’s account. A few days later she handed me photos she had taken of the picnic. I was amazed that not a scrap of the squirrel – no fur, no bones, no nothing – was left behind.
As for mammals, there are the ever present squirrels which I wrote about the other day, but 2010 has to be the year of the rabbit. Every morning there’s at least one, sometimes up to three, camped out in the yard, grazing away. When I appear they freeze but don’t flee, behavior I find baffling. They are clearly visible yet they act like they just blend into the background. But it must work since they have been here all summer.
My feeder in South Lowell attracts chickadees, sparrows, cardinals, house finches, mourning doves, tufted titmice, juncos, woodpeckers and MIT-trained squirrels who can crack any so-called “squirrel-proof” feeders. But this is the year of the chipmunks here; I have never seen so many.
Last year there was so many chipmunks ,I had to buy a trap. I than dropped them off on the Dracut side of the river.