The Mourning Dove

March 17, 2016


The Mourning Dove is the most common dove in all of North America; it can be found in all sorts of habitats but prefers semi-open areas, including parks and cemeteries. The Mourning Dove has a mellow cooing song which is described as ‘ whoOOoo, who who”,  many people think they are hearing an owl not a dove, especially since they often start singing before the sun comes up. When feeding they seem to move about aimlessly with their heads bobbing looking for food. If flushed they explode into the air and you can hear the whirl of its wings.

Mourning Doves are monogamous, that is having one mate and they remain together for multiple breeding season, Mourning Doves have been known to have as many as four broods a year. The courtship flight consists of a series of deep dives, then glides and then soaring in circles, many observers first impressions when they see this yell out “hawk”- hence the term “mo-hawk”. The nest of the Mourning Dove is poorly constructed; often they utilize another nest, frequently a Robin’s nest, just adding a few loose branches. They can be found everywhere in the Cemetery, two other species of dove have occurred in Mount Auburn, one most likely an escaped cage bird known as the Ringed Turtle Dove and the other was a White-winged Dove that was found in the Meadow area on April 22 2005 and was seen by hundreds of birders until it was last seen on May 1 2005.


About the Author: Bob Stymeist

Bob Stymeist is Bird Observer's Bird Sightings Compiler and a regular bird walk leader for the Friends of Mount Auburn. View all posts by Bob Stymeist →

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