The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is a member of the dove family, Columbidae. The bird is also known as the American Mourning Dove or the Rain Dove, and erroneously as the Turtle Dove, and was once known as the Carolina Pigeon or Carolina Turtle Dove. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds. It is also a leading game bird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and for meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure is due to its prolific breeding; in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods of two young each in a single year. The wings make an unusual whistling sound upon take-off and landing, a form of sonation. The bird is a strong flier, capable of speeds up to 88 km/h (55 mph). [Wikipedia]
A graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove that’s common across the continent. Mourning Doves perch on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground; their flight is fast and bullet straight. Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments. When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying. Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America. [All About Birds]
Mourning Dove Facts [All About Birds]
- During the breeding season, you might see three Mourning Doves flying in tight formation, one after another. This is a form of social display. Typically the bird in the lead is the male of a mated pair. The second bird is an unmated male chasing his rival from the area where he hopes to nest. The third is the female of the mated pair, which seems to go along for the ride.
- Perhaps one reason why Mourning Doves survive in the desert: they can drink brackish spring water (up to almost half the salinity of sea water) without becoming dehydrated the way humans would.
- Mourning Doves eat roughly 12 to 20 percent of their body weight per day or 71 calories on average.
- The oldest known Mourning Dove was a male, and at least 30 years, 4 months old when he was shot in Florida in 1998. He had been banded in Georgia in 1968.
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