About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A closer look at Mourning Doves

Get to know your birds before the Great Backyard Birdcount (#GBBC)

Mourning Doves Zenaida macroura are a medium-sized wild bird with a grayish brown back, a buff underneath, black spots on the wings, and a black spot shaped like a comma below and behind the eye.

They have a small, thin black bill, red legs and dark brown eyes. Males are larger than females and show more color with a bluish cap, pink chest and neck feathers and three white outer tail feathers. The female is graced with an olive gray cap and a tan breast. Neck feathers can be greenish or pinkish with one or two white outer feathers.

The Mourning Dove’s common name comes from their mournful cooing song. Their scientific name Zenaida honors Zenaide, Princess of Naples and the wife of Charles-Lucien Bonaparte, who was a naturalist and the nephew of the French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Mourning Doves are one of the most abundant and widespread native birds in North America and common year-round at Michigan bird feeders. They like to live near human dwellings and as our population has grown over the years so has their population.

Despite their fragile look, the Mourning Dove is a swift, direct flier whose wings whistle as they cut through the air at high speed. When they bursts into flight, their wings clap above and below their body.

Mourning doves are not picky eaters but feed more comfortably on feeders with large perching areas. Ground feeders, tray feeders and hopper feeders all allow room for doves to perch. They eat a variety of seeds, insects, and berries. Any bird seed blend with a lot of sunflower seeds would be a good choice to attract doves.

Related Articles:
- Why is the Dove a Symbol of Peace? http://bit.ly/wMKEKF
- How Do You Keep Doves From Dominating a Feeder? http://bit.ly/zDAwR2
- How Mourning Doves defend their nests http://bit.ly/LiE7TH
- Do Birds Sip or Slurp? http://bit.ly/N6syCY
- Mourning Dove nesting facts and figures http://goo.gl/WeLWy

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