How to Identify birds: the mourning dove

the mourning dove

Bird watching is a great activity to do on your own or to spend time with the whole family. Look for the habitat, coloring, behavior and call of this beautiful bird and enjoy its beauty and soft cooing.

The mourning dove nests in all 48 of the contiguous United States. Spot one using a few easy-to-follow rules.

You Will Need

* Binoculars
* A field guide

Step 1: Observe the bird's size and shape

Consider the bird's appearance through binoculars and compare it with the pictures in your field guide. Mourning doves have plump bodies and long pointed tails, short legs, small bills, and small heads.

Step 2: Observe the bird's coloring

Consider the bird's coloring. Mourning doves are grayish-brown in color and have black spots on their wings and white tips with black borders on their tail feathers.

Step 3: Observe the bird's behavior

Consider the bird's behavior. Mourning doves fly rapidly using strong wing beats and may take flight or land suddenly while stretching their tails behind them.

Mourning doves are usually seen in pairs in summer.

Step 4: Observe the bird's habitat

Consider the bird's habitat. Mourning doves are fond of fields and bare ground where they forage for seeds, but may also be found sitting on overhead telephone wires.

Although some mourning doves winter in the northern parts of the U.S., most do not arrive until mid-spring.

Step 5: Observe the bird's call

Consider the bird's call. The male mourning dove has a call that sounds like a drawn-out, mournful lament.

The mourning dove is the most frequently hunted bird in North America.

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