I know that some people discount Mourning Doves. They are common in our area and readily seen and heard. It’s not much of a surprise to find a Mourning Dove in the backyard or perched along telephone wires in the neighborhood.
About twenty-years ago, when I first became interested in birds, I remember making a common mistake and misinterpreting their plaintive call for that of an owl. I probably ran back into the house and told my husband and kids I had just heard an owl in the trees near our home.
Anyone who has been listening and paying attention to birds for long, however, can tell the difference in sound between an owl and a Mourning Dove. For newbies, though, their plaintive song can sound a little owl-like. Their feathers also make a distinctive sound as they take off.
I find them to be lovely, elegant birds. There is something sort of gentle and sweet about them that endears them to me. I love the sound of their calls to each other.
We have a pair of them who like to spend time in our backyard. One of the things I appreciate about them is that I can open the back door and they will stay put if I just sit on the step and watch them. Try doing that with a House Finch. The moment they see or hear the back door opening, they fly away frantically to the cover of the shrubs in the field.
Last year, when we took out the grass in our little yard and began installing all native plants, they were one of the first species to reward us for our hard work by spending time picking at the native Sedum’s we planted along the rock wall. They really seem to like Sedum and work their way around the yard eating bits of it. We have some new little Sedum’s coming up in odd places and I’m pretty sure the Mourning Dove’s have helped carry snippets of it along the yard that took root over the winter.