Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove is an endearing favorite of yards.  The haunting yet familiar song fills neighborhoods, fields, and open woodlands.  This medium-sized bird that is usually thought of as a symbol of peace and tranquility can be entertaining to watch.  They can be quite amorous and their antics can be humorous to the observer as they turn your yard into a pick-up scene.  Sometimes they turn aggressive and will even charge one another as well as other species.  With their behavioral nuances and tameness they are enjoyed by all manner of yardbirders.

These birds are about Robin-sized and mostly a soft gray.  They have a small head and a thin bill.  Their pointed tails help differentiate them from other, similar doves like Eurasian Collared-Dove, Rock Dove, and White-winged Dove.  The Inca Dove has a long, pointed tail but is much smaller and has a reddish underwing.  These doves will flush from the ground or a higher perch in an explosive flight that features a whistling sound caused by their wings.  A flash of white tail feathers is seen in flight from the arrow shape that is seen when the tail is fanned.

These birds love corn and sunflower.  They will eat other seeds such as millet and safflower.  Water is a big attractant for these birds and they will put on quite a show as they splash about.  They eat mainly from the ground but will occasionally land on a hanging feeder.  When arriving at a new feeder they can be shy but as they get used to it they will let people and pets (sometimes even cats) get pretty close.

The other doves that come to feeders generally follow this profile.  In central Arkansas we may get Eurasian Collared-Doves and Rock Doves (Pigeons).