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Meet Mourning Dove

These birds are just about everywhere. From cities to suburbs to the peaceful pair in our forest, they are able to thrive in most environment. They can even thrive in the desert because they can actually drink salt water and remain hydrated. They are also exceptionally long lived with the oldest recorded banded bird being 30 years old.

These birds are often called "Morning Doves" and they often "coo" in the mornings and evenings so that name stands in many places in the US. But their name of Mourning Dove is in reference to their cooing sound. You have likely heard it as day turns to dusk and it is a haunting sound. Their call sounds like someone mourning a loss and they are named after that sound. You may also hear their distinctive whistling feathers when they take flight. They are also often called Turtle Dove or Carolina Pigeon. They are related to the now-extinct passenger pigeon

Mourning Doves are easy to attract to your back yard with some millet seed scattered on the ground on on a tray feeder. They are not able to crack the shells of sunflowers in their beaks so they do avoid those at the feeder. They are generally ground feeders and especially vulnerable to cats when feeding. When not visiting backyard feeders, they eat small seeds like thistle, grass and other flower seeds. They nest on platforms or build a platform-ish nest in the crook of a tree branch and can raise four or five broods per year.

These birds seem so common we often overlook them. But take a closer look at this long-lived dove that lives right in your neighborhood. Look closely and you'll notice that some of their feathers are iridescent. Observe over time and you'll notice that they share parenting duties in the nest. Scatter some millet seed on a tray feeder and you'll come to love these plump, peaceful birds.

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