Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fun Feathered Friends: Mourning Dove

As Jeannsies and her friend played at the park today, the friend called out "Dove" when she heard a Mourning Dove call! I was so excited! Mourning Dove is the only call Jeannsies has learned at this point. She also knows what a dove looks like. (We will be spending some good dove searching time during "D" week).

I realized that Mourning Doves are probably one of the most distinctive and easy to identify of the common birds in our area. It's a great intro to the fact that there are lots of different types of birds. If you think about it, it's probably kind of confusing when we just call everything with feathers that flies a "bird." We don't just go around teaching the kids "mammal" after all.

Jeannsies loves to identify different animals and make their sounds, so I figure now is a great time to introduce her to birding. I just have to be careful not to be a stage mother about it.
Anyway, this is a mourning dove:

And that's one of the most common ways to see them. They also like to walk around on the ground which makes them easy to spot and fun to watch.

They are closely related to pigeons, but they are native to the Central Valley. As my friend commented, their call sounds sad. I think that's where the forlorn name Mourning Dove comes from.

All of the birds in the pigeon family (Columbidae) feed their little ones "crop milk." Doesn't sound sweet? It is actually "secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop" Yum!

The have a slightly pinkish tint, a fact I am going to exploit heavily to interest my little pink princess.

Doves and pigeons have a really fun walk to imitate too. I'm going to see if I can get Jeannsies pretending to be a dove. Yes that means I will probably be pretending to be a dove at a public park. Don't worry, once you've given birth in a room full of strangers, you no longer have any pride.

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