Friday, January 25, 2013

Doo, Doo, Doo, Looking Out My Backdoor VII: Mourning Dove

Not a bird you would normally associate with a bird feeder, but we've almost always had doves around the feeder. Not too many songbirds will eat kernel corn or cracked corn, so if there is any in the mix, it usually will end up on the ground under the feeder. And that is what attracts the doves.  They are such sweet birds, recalling Jesus statement in Matthew about being as "innocent as doves." So, here you have the picture of innocence. Doesn't it look like it is asking, "Who me?"

We had a feeder at another home we had and, at the time, the seed mix we used had quite a bit of cracked corn in it. One winter, that started attracting doves. The flock kept building over time and I kept counting them from one day to the next. Twenty one day.  Twenty-four a few days later. The last count I took was 53 sitting in the mulberry tree where the feeder hung. Fortunately, once they settle down on a branch, they tend to stay there for a while and not flit around like smaller birds.  So, I'm pretty sure the count was accurate.

I always think of a painting when I see a picture of a dove.  Look at the rounded feathers and the darker spots of color. Each feather is separate and carefully delineated.

Doves have very short legs which causes them to bob their heads when they walk. Doves are found throughout almost the entire continent and are also considered a game bird, although I don't know how anyone could shoot them. It seems to me you couldn't harvest enough meat off one bird to make cleaning it worth while. But then, maybe they are sooo good that it is worth the effort. I don't know. I've never tasted one.

These last two photos were taken with my "junk" telephoto and are not as sharp as the others. This photo may look as though it was taken in deep woods, but it was actually taken through the kitchen window after a pine tree fell on the deck. I left the tree there for a couple of months (it didn't do any damage and it was winter) so that I could use it as a background. There wasn't any snow, but it was a cold winter day so the dove was fluffed up.

Doves are thought to be monogamous through more than one breeding season.  I am pretty sure these same two doves that were long-term visitors to our house were mated through at least four or five years. You can see a slight difference in coloration although I would not hazard a guess as to which is male and which is female.  Well, okay. The one on the left is a male. That's my guess.  I shot this out the second floor bathroom window and they were off to the side which caused me to have to tilt the camera and that is why the trees are not straight up and down. But, there are times when this gives a photo a more dynamic feel.

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