Annual Spring Visitor

HARBINGER OF SPRING…

I realize this is a bit late, but it took a bit longer to get this blog going than I would have liked…They always talk and even sing of the red, red Robin, as the messenger of springtime. But to me the haunting cry of the Mourning Dove is a sure sign that spring has arrived. Although this year my first sound and sight of this delicate looking bird was in an unusual mid-April snow! This year, it was perched on my balcony railing, in a snowfall!

In the area I live, I heard the call for the first time a few years ago. At first, I thought it was some rare diurnal owl. I couldn’t get a clear look at it, as it sat on a rooftop on the next building. I never could figure out what species it might be. Every time I heard it, practically, I would try to spot it. But it was very elusive. I got more and more curious about this feathered, seasonal neighbor.

Finally, one year, I heard it seemingly very near. I looked out my balcony door, behind the glass, very quietly. There it was, hopping around on my own balcony! I tried to get a feel for what bird family it might belong to. I’m no birdwatcher, so my only clues were from observation. It looked like it could be related to the pigeon, but it seemed more delicate, especially in size and face. Then, bingo! “I bet it’s a Dove” I surmised. So I searched the web. “It has kind of a mournful sounding call, too”…Hmmm,  of course ”the Mourning Dove”  I’d never seen one before or heard the cry until  I moved to this area. Although I’d heard of this bird before, I never had any idea, how it looked or what it sounded like.

Once I had some idea of what I was searching for, the Mourning Dove was all over the web and easy to find. There were even recordings of its call, corroborating my conclusions about its identification. I probably would have gotten along without knowing more about this, but I’m glad I was just curious enough to bother.  So if you, too, are curious enough:

Mourning Dove

Zenaida macroura ORDER: COLUMBIFORMES FAMILY: COLUMBIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

http://www.birdjam.com/birdsong.php?id=7  (sound byte of call) and a bit of info

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mourning_Dove  (more info)

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