Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Every morning over the past few weeks, I've been hearing the beautiful coo of birds outside my bedroom window, sounds reminiscent of a mysterious, beckoning owl. But upon further thought, I realized that owls are nocturnal creatures and would probably not be awake, nor that vocal, around 7am. So I did some research and discovered that these birds are Mourning Doves! They are medium sized, slender birds, typically with light gray-brown plumage, and a lighter, pinkish color below. The wings have black spotting, and the outer tail feathers are white, contrasting with the black-inners. They are native to North America, including Canada and all 50 states in the USA.
This species' call is a distinctive, plaintive cooOOoo-woo-woo-woooo, uttered by males to attract a mate. Because of their beckoning, "mourning" type calls, they are often mistaken for owls. Other sounds include a nest call (cooOOoo) by paired males to attract their mates to the nest sites, a greeting call (a soft ork) by males upon rejoining their mates, and an alarm call (a short roo-oo) by either male or female when threatened.
I was intrigued to learn more about these beautiful doves that live outside my bedroom window, and I've actually developed a curiosity about the plethora of other bird species that live in my Alameda Beach neighborhood. Maybe I'll even become a recreational birdwatcher, just like my dad. : )