Hey guys! Welcome back! Today we take a look at the most widespread native dove in North America, the Mourning Dove. The Mourning Dove is one of the first birds I remember really taking notice of as a kid. I knew robins and sparrows and blue jays, and to 12yo me, they all kinda looked the same. They were birds. But then I saw a bird on the electric wires across the street from my house, and it was making a weird sound. It didn’t chirp or squawk or sing like the other birds, it was making little “hooting” sounds. My parents told me it was a Mourning Dove. I didn’t really get any more info than that lol. I can remember standing at the end of my driveway early in the morning, waiting for the school bus, and seeing (and hearing) a couple Mourning Doves on the electric lines. Of course, because of this, I thought they were Morning Doves, not Mourning Doves. Sometimes I wonder how many people think that? Supposedly their quiet “hooting” noises sound sad and mournful, hence the name.
Mourning Doves are fairly common, mostly drab brown birds that can be often found walking around on the ground eating. But if you stop to take a good look, you’ll likely see that these birds aren’t as drab as they first appear. They have a beautiful blue eyering, and the males during breeding season have a striking patch of purple/pink iridescence on their neck, which they often puff up to attract a mate.
Identifying a Mourning Dove is pretty easy in the northeast, as they’re pretty much the only thing that looks like them. But elsewhere in the country, however, there are other species of similar looking doves, such as the Eurasian Collared Dove. The Mourning Dove is far more common. The Mourning Dove is so abundant, in fact, that according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, despite it being the most hunted game bird in North America, their population is still an estimate 350 million! That’ll do it for today. Next time we’ll look at the bird that prompted me to finally join eBird and officially begin my life list. check back to find out which bird it is!