Tag Archive: monogamous


On April 12, 2010 I did a blog entry about the pair of doves I got to ‘know’ from the previous years.  Then this Spring I wrote about seeing the single dove left from the pair.  I hear the cooing.  I don’t hear an ‘answer.’  I don’t see the mate.  There is no nest being built in the carport.

Today, the dove is back.  Alone.   Calling for it’s mate.  And looking a bit ragged.  I got my camera…..

Trying to find a place to hide..

One last look around....no mate.

I wonder how many years this dove will make the trip here alone….

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The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is a member of the dove family (Columbidae). The bird is also called the Western Turtle Dove or the American Mourning Dove or Rain Dove, and formerly was known as the Carolina Pigeon or Carolina Turtledove. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds. It is also the leading gamebird, with up to 70 million birds shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and for meat. Its ability to sustain such pressure stems from its prolific breeding: in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods  a year. Its plaintive woo-oo-oo-oo call gives the bird its name. The wings can make an unusual whistling sound upon take-off and landing, and the bird is a strong flier, capable of speeds up to 88 km/h (55 mph).

Mourning Doves are light grey and brown and generally muted in color. Males and females are similar in appearance. The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents incubate and care for the young. Mourning Doves eat almost exclusively seeds, but the young are fed crop milk by their parents.

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Now that you have had a moment to ‘educate yourself’, I would ask for your indulgence while I recount yet another one of my stories.

We, my grandson and I, moved from the farm house with the plethora of critters and birds to an apartment closer to everything we needed.  Missed the raccoons.  Missed the chickadees.  Missed the owls, skunks, and rabbits.  Loved the noise and people and activity, though.  And, the guy living above us had a balcony, and a lot of bird feeders!   At least we would have Some birds, and maybe a squirrel or two.  We just had to make it through our first winter here, and hope for a critter-active Spring.

As I had hoped, the up-stairs bird feeders did the trick.  There were lots of sparrows, of course.  And we saw robins, wrens, finches and a hummingbird or two.  Then, I saw them:  A pair of  Mourning Doves…one of my favorite creatures.  I love their peacefulness and calm demeanor, and their wings that make a sound like they need oil whenever they take off.  Mostly, though, I love their Cooing to each other.

About a week after noticing them in the front yard, I saw them in the carport where I park.  They were building a nest!  How sweet is that!?  I watched them, and watched the babies they had grow up and leave.  Then they had a second brood.  Icing on the cake!  Watched them again as they cared for their home and kids.  Then, the season was over, and winter was coming.  They left.

Spring came, and the Doves came back.  They went right to work repairing the nest from last year.  Then, as before, they had some off-spring.  The chicks grew up, and left.  The Doves cleaned house, then laid another couple of eggs.  One was on the nest at all time, like before.  However, all I ever saw during this second round of nesting was one bird.  I started paying closer attention.  Only one.  That bird raised those chicks, and cooed and called for the rest of  the season.  No mate ever showed up.  Winter was coming, so my beautiful Dove left…alone.

This Spring, a single dove came back, again.  It called and called from the nesting area in the carport. Still no answering coo.  No mate came flying in.  No one to help prepare the nest for little ones. If you re-read the opening of this post, you will see that Doves are monogamous.  This bird had lost it’s mate somehow.  Sadly, I came to realize it will be calling for the rest of it’s life….with no response.  A Dove’s cooing has always touched my heart, but now the name “Mourning Dove” will mean even more to me.