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Mourning Dove - Symbol of Peace and Friendship

Article and photos by Charly Mann

There is no more gentle and pleasant bird than the Mourning Dove. They are a social bird that enjoys being close to humans as long as they are soft spoken and do not get too close.

Mourning Dove close-up
Mourning Dove near Dewey, Oklahoma

Mourning Doves are about a foot long and have an 18 inch wingspan. They have small heads and their bodies are plump with short legs and beaks. They are light gray with tints of brown.They have black spots on their backs and pinkish-red feet and legs.  Males have a bluish crown and nape. 

Mourning Doves are truly love doves also. They are monogamous and pairs spend most of their time close to one another. As parents they both care for their young and both produce milk for their babies that is higher in protein and fat than cow or human milk.

Mourning Dove chicks
A mother Mourning Dove on the left and her two young chicks

Adult Mourning Doves primarily eat seeds.

Doves have been used as symbols of peace, goodwill, and friendship for more than 3,000 years. It was also a dove with an olive branch that told Noah on the Ark that the flood has ended in the Bible.

Bird in Snowstorm
I came across this Mourning Dove while walking through the woods during a snowstorm in northeast Oklahoma

The Morning Dove is also called the Western Turtle Dove and the American Mourning Dove, and was once known as the Carolina Pigeon.

Bird on a string
I tied this string to a another tree to hold up a small Mimosa tree in my back yard. This Mourning Dove enjoyed perching on it almost every day.

In spite of the Mourning Dove's docile nature and association with peace and religious scripture, more than 70 million are shot annually in the United States for "sport". As a note of caution the most common bird in America in the 19th century was the now extinct Passenger Pigeon. Their migratory flocks were as large as two billion at a time, and it would often take several hours for them to pass overhead. Like the Mourning Dove they were killed by hunters in the tens of millions every year, and the last Passenger Pigeon, whose name was Martha, died on September, 1, 1914. Eerily, the Mourning Dove is the closest living relative of the Passenger Pigeon. (They are smaller and not as brightly colored as the Passenger Pigeon.)

Mourning Dove back view

Mourning Doves are capable of flying 55 miles an hour. They have strong feet and powerful leg muscles which allow them to quickly launch into the air.

Mourning Dove up-close
There are many great places in Oklahoma to find a wide variety of birds. This was taken in an area where I regularly see ten or more different bird species.

The Mourning Dove's maximum lifespan is about 19 years.

There is no biological difference between doves and pigeons. Generally though, doves are considered smaller versions of pigeons.



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Ebubekir      5:35 PM Wed 12/23/2015

I cannot put into words what I feel about your pitainng. You capture the essence of the bird so beautifully. . . it brings back memories of living on the Intracoastal and a pair of doves would sun on our hose. When their 2 babies came along and were a bit bigger (out of the nest), they would drop them off for us to watch. Such great and amazing long ago memories. Thank you for sharing the pitainng and those great pictures. Blessings, Janet PPF

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May Olson      11:39 AM Mon 7/27/2015

A Mourning Dove set a nest on my hanging basket in front of my bedroom window. I was told that this is a very good sign and a sign of peace. Is this true although it is not a white dove?

Featherduster      8:28 PM Sat 9/1/2012



Uplifting Visions
a guide to happiness, good health, and success
Charly Mann in a Hawaiian shirt
by Charly Mann

From the age of seven I have been enchanted with the idea of living happily ever after, and have made it a life quest to find that answer. I have spoken to hundreds of people – usually older and wiser than me, and read countless books and articles on the subject. In my website Uplifting Visions I share what I consider the best insights I have learned about achieving happiness in life.

Oklahoma Birds Listed by Color

House Finch - male (carpodacus mexicanus)
Purple Finch - male (carpodacus purpureus)
Northern Cardinal - male (cardinalis cardinalis)
Painted Bunting - male (passerina ciris)
Summer Tanager - male (piranga rubra)

Baltimore Oriole - male (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - male (icterus spurius)

Yellow Warbler (dendroica petechia )
Baltimore Oriole - female (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - female (icterus spurius)
Summer Tanager - female (piranga rubra)
Yellow Goldfinch - male (carduelis tristis)
Western Kingbird (tyrannus verticalis)
Eastern Meadowlark (sturnella magna)

Malard - male (anas platyrhynchos)
Dark-eyed Junco - female (junco hyemalis)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (archilochus colubris)
Painted Bunting - female (passerina ciris)
Green Heron (butorides virescens)

Barn Swallow (hirundo rustica)
Belted Kingfisher (ceryle alcyon)
Blue Jay (cyanocitta cristata)
Blue Grosbeak - male (guiraca caerulea)
Eastern Bluebird (sailia sialis)
Indigo Bunting - male (passerina cyanea)
Purple Martin - male (progne subis)

Great Blue Heron (ardea herodias)
Carolina Chickadee (poecile carolinensis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (sitta canadensis)
Grey Catbird (dumetella carolinensis)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (regulus calendula)
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (tyrannus forficatus)
White-breasted Nuthatch (sitta carolinensis)
Tufted Titmouse (baelophus bicolor)
American Robin (turdus migratorius)
Northern Mockingbird (mimus polyglottos)
Mississippi Kite (ictinia mississippiensis)
Dickcissel (spiza americana)

American Crow (corvus brachyrhynchos)
Brown-headed Cowbird - male (molothrus ater)
European Starling (sturnus vulgaris)
Common Grackle (quiscalus quiscula)
Red-winged Blackbird - male (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Towhee (pipilo maculatus)
Turkey Vulture (cathartes aura)

Black & White
American Bald Eagle (haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Black-billed Magpie (pica hudsonia)
Downey Woodpecker (picoides pubescens)
Red-Bellied Woodpecker (melanerpes carolinus)
Purple Martin - female (progne subis)
Eastern Kingbird (tyrannus tyrannus)
Dark-eyed Junco - male (junco hyemalis)
Loggerhead Shrike (lanius ludovicianus)

American Kestrel (falco sparverius)
Blue Grosbeak - female (guiraca caerulea)
Brown-headed Cowbird - female (molothrus ater)
Brown Thrasher (toxostoma rufum)
Common Nighthawk (chordeiles minor)
Carolina Wren (thryothorus ludovicianus)
Cedar Waxwing (bombycilla cedrorum)
Greater Roadrunner (geococcyx californianus)
Killdeer (charadrius vociferus)
Northern Bobwhite (colinus virginianus)
Red-tailed Hawk (buteo jamaicensis)
Cliff Swallow (petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Horned Lark (eremophila alpestris)
House Finch - female (carpodacus mexicanus)
Northern Flicker (colaptes auratus)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (coccyzus americanus)
Mourning Dove (zenaida macroura)
Malard - female (anas platyrhynchos)
Purple Finch - female (carpodacus purpureus)
House Sparrow (passer domesticus)
Indigo Bunting - female (passerina cyanea)
Red-winged Blackbird - female (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Sandpiper (actitis macularia)
Upland Sandpiper (bartramia longicauda)
Northern Cardinal - female (cardinalis cardinalis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Yellow Goldfinch - female (carduelis tristis)
Canada Goose (branta canadensis)

Wild Birds of Northeast OK

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