Foam Lake Birding No. 121


After what seems like an eternity of rain and cool weather temperatures are finally rising and things are drying up to everybody's delight. For several days in a row now we have had our morning coffee outdoors without having to wear jackets. Nice. Throw in the surrounding luxuriant vegetation and beautiful flowers all set to a background of birdsong and things simply do not get any better.

Every once in awhile I do a repeat article on a certain bird and this week is one of those instances. For about three or four years now Mourning Doves have frequented our back lane and must have nested there somewhere. This year the doves have been exceptionally busy underneath our black oil seed feeder eating the seeds dropped on the ground by birds at the feeder itself. They are a welcome addition to our yard.

In addition to the feeding activity we have watched the doves going through their courtship ritual with the male puffing himself up to look much larger, and supposedly more desirable, to the female. The female, in turn, would touch the male's bill with her own accompanied with soft cooing. (I believe this the origin of the term "billing and cooing"). The female definitely seemed ready to "play house" as it were. The end result is that we have a Mourning Dove's nest in our backyard.

This event makes a total of twelve (12) different species of birds that have nested in our yard at one time or another. As of this writing we have had six different species of birds nest in our yard this year alone. Both totals include Brown Headed Cowbirds.

Pigeons in general make very flimsy nests and if possible will utilize a previous year's nest made by some other bird. The Mourning Dove in our yard has taken over a last year's Robin's nest in our apple tree. The nest survived the winter relatively undamaged needing little refurbishing which suited the dove's lack of building skills just fine. In any case, the dove seems to like it very much.

This week's pictures are of the two doves "billing and cooing" on a rail in our yard and the second is of the female on her nest watching us intently. She is very comfortable with human activity all around her and does not seem to be bothered by things such as a noisy lawn mower just a few feet beneath her. I hope nothing disturbs her to the point that she abandons the nest as I can hardly wait until the young hatch so I can watch the parents attending to them.