A Dole of Mourning Doves

Since the beginning of February I have had larger than normal flocks of mourning doves congregating at my bird feeders.  This morning I counted, or tried to count, just over 40 of them.  Various names for these large flocks include a cote, dole, bevy, flight or piteousness of doves.

Mourning doves enjoy feeding from platform, fly-through and ground feeders, or just feeding on seeds sprinkled on the ground.  Their seeds of choice include white millet, cracked corn, safflower, and sunflower hearts.  Given that this is the seed I offer my backyard birds, along with all of their favourite feeders is likely the reason I’m seeing so many.

Mourning doves also frequent my heated bird bath on a regular basis. 

Here’s some fun facts about mourning doves:

  • Their bird song is a soft lamenting low cooing note repeated 3 times, hence the name mourning dove.
  • When they take off their wings make a sharp whistling sound.
  • They measure 12 inches long with a wingspan of 18 inches.  Their weight is generally 4.5 oz., but can vary from 4-6 oz.
  • Their feathers are a soft light brown and grey.  They have a black cheek patch and black spots on their wings and lower back.
  • Their dark eyes are circled with a light blue eyering.
  • Mourning doves are monogamous, mating for life
  • Their life span is 3-5 years, however the oldest mourning dove on record lived 30 years, 4 months.

Happy Birding!

Jane Paradis

Urban Nature Store Brand Ambassador

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