Birds of the Week # 32
The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is a member of the dove family, Columbidae. Like other columbines, the mourning dove drinks by suction, without lifting or tilting its head. It often gathers at drinking spots around dawn and dusk. Mourning doves eat almost exclusively seeds, which make up more than 99% of their diet. Rarely, they will eat snails or insects. Mourning doves generally eat enough to fill their crops and then fly away to digest while resting. They often swallow grit such as fine gravel or sand to assist with digestion. The species usually forages on the ground, walking but not hopping. At bird feeders, mourning doves are attracted to one of the largest ranges of seed types of any North American bird, with a preference for rapeseed, corn, millet, safflower, and sunflower seeds. Mourning doves do not dig or scratch for seeds, though they will push aside ground litter; instead, they eat what is readily visible. They will sometimes perch on plants and eat from there. Mourning doves show a preference for the seeds of certain species of plant over others. Foods taken in preference to others include pine nuts, sweetgum seeds, and the seeds of pokeberry, amaranth, canary grass, corn, sesame, and wheat. When their favorite foods are absent, mourning doves will eat the seeds of other plants, including buckwheat, rye, goosegrass and smartweed.
The European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), also known simply as the starling in Great Britain and Ireland, is a medium-sized passerine bird in the starling family, Sturnidae. Unpaired males find a suitable cavity and begin to build nests in order to attract single females, often decorating the nest with ornaments such as flowers and fresh green material, which the female later disassembles upon accepting him as a mate. The amount of green material is not important, as long as some is present, but the presence of herbs in the decorative material appears to be significant in attracting a mate. The scent of plants such as yarrow acts as an olfactory attractant to females. The males sing throughout much of the construction and even more so when a female approaches his nest. Following copulation, the male and female continue to build the nest. Nests may be in any type of hole, common locations include inside hollowed trees, buildings, tree stumps and man-made nest-boxes. S. v. zetlandicus typically breeds in crevices and holes in cliffs, a habitat only rarely used by the nominate form. Nests are typically made out of straw, dry grass and twigs with an inner lining made up of feathers, wool and soft leaves. Construction usually takes four or five days and may continue through incubation. Common starlings are both monogamous and polygamous; although broods are generally brought up by one male and one female, occasionally the pair may have an extra helper. Pairs may be part of a colony, in which case several other nests may occupy the same or nearby trees. Males may mate with a second female while the first is still on the nest. The reproductive success of the bird is poorer in the second nest than it is in the primary nest and is better when the male remains monogamous.
© HJ Ruiz – Avian101
Beautiful shots, HJ! 🙂
Thanks so much, Donna. 🙂
I heard a mourning dove cooing yesterday. He’d better not get too excited. A cold front, with extended temperatures in the 30s and 40s is on the way!
Yes, I heard that. They can fly hard and get away from it. Thank you, Linda. 🙂
Lovely portraits all around. H.J. Mourning Doves are rare here at this time of year and seeing your photos reminds me that I miss them. I love to listen to them.
They are all over my backyard, getting fat. Thank you, Tanja. 🙂
They say: “Thank you for feeding us, H.J.” 😊
You have really shown off the beauty of these lovely doves, HJ! I always feel that they are underappreciated.
They are pretty birds, strong and capable. You said it…they are underappreciated. 🙂