Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove. Batiquitos Lagoon, Carlsbad, California. June 1, 2014. Greg Gillson.
I started birding in the 8th grade as a school science project. Actually, birding itself wasn't the project, but I had been procrastinating. I needed to come up with some idea--quick. It was one of those rare snowy winters in western Oregon. For one of my projects in shop class that year I had built an ugly metal bird feeder, which was now feeding juncos. "Why don't you keep track of the birds that come to the bird feeder?" my father asked.

Over 40 years later I'm still keeping track of the birds.

Mourning Dove is actually one of the few species I remember seeing (and hearing) as a child in Minnesota--before I really started watching birds in earnest. Others were Northern Cardinal, Eastern Bluebird, Baltimore Oriole, Tufted Titmouse, Common Grackle, Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Apart from the incessantly (24/7) singing Northern Mockingbirds, it is one of the first birds of the morning that awake me each day here in southern California. Their song may sound mournful to some, a boo-hoo-hoo crying, but I actually find it more comforting than sad. After all, they've been singing to me my entire life.