Monday, February 11, 2008

More Doves

After yesterday’s post I decided to find the passage about doves in “Cross Creek” that I remember reading years ago. It turns out that little pink feet are just the beginning of Rawlings’ description:

“The little West Indian ground doves are enchanting. They are of the softest gray, with ashes of roses breasts, rosy beaks and tiny pink feet that make a lacy pattern in the sand. They walk rapidly with a bobbing motion, and fly in small explosive bursts, like a milkweed pod popping open. They are amorous, as doves should be, and mate several times a year. I once saw a pair consummate their union on the tip of a crepe myrtle bough, most precariously, and other pairs have mated at the edge of the bird-bath. The male makes a pretense of ferocity, and after having crooned softly for hours to his mate, suddenly ruffles his feathers and pursues her with what would pass for viciousness if she were not so easily and happily caught. I think of them as giving their throbbing call the year around, but I am sure it is a concomitant of the mating, and since the breeding is so frequent, it is only now and then that I realize I have not been hearing the sweet sad cry from the roof-tree.”

So, as it turns out, ol’ Marge was writing about ground doves, not mourning doves -- but they’re so closely related that much of the description carries over. She even offers an explanation for why I hadn’t been hearing the birds during the past few months -- and why they recently perked back up again. Perhaps the weather was sufficiently springlike to set their hormones surging.

Unfortunately, yesterday afternoon, we had a fierce, windy snowstorm. It was bright and sunny all morning, but at about 3 p.m. a howling wind sent objects crashing in the courtyard and literally minutes later, it was snowing. It didn’t really stick, at least here in the city, but temperatures plummeted.

I guess that probably cooled their ardor.

(Photo: Dumbo, Brooklyn, Jan. 2008)


  1. We've had doves nest on our windowsills here on Tennessee Avenue, such a sweet and inspiring thing. Aww!! They're so sweet.

    Enjoy your soup! It's definitely cold enough for it today!

  2. The White-Winged dove is our major type here in the desert. They make a nice cooing sound too.

    I doves migrate south in the winter and don't really return until the weather gets hot. Their migration is timed to the reproductive cycle of the Saguaro catus.

  3. That picture is so interesting, it should feel stark, but the yellows add so much cheer.

    also have some hot cocoa today. stay warm.

  4. The reproductive cycle of the Saguaro cactus... there is the makings of a haiku in Merle's comment.

    Doves, the white rose is a dove-- how does that saying go? the red rose is a falcon...

  5. there are so many types of doves in the world it's easy to confuse them they all coo so prettily. in the northeast mourning doves are ubiquitious (well more than just the northeast) and are year round residents except for the tip of maine, and the upper, upper midwest (eg minnesota - where bob is from!) although they are really good hiding out when the temps drop.

    pigeons - a close cousin to doves (if not actual doves) now there's a cosmopolitan bird (and the bane of birders) - I'm still waiting to see a baby pigeon! we usually have pigeons around the birdfeeder which attracts hawks which always brings a bit of excitement to watching the birds at the feeder.

    stay warm!!! hope the sun comes back, so even if it's cold when the sun is out it feels much better!