This morning two doves flew in and landed on our woodshed. One waddled, as doves do across the roof to an open beam of sunlight cutting through the 23° temp. The other followed. Soon they were preening and turning, then beak to beak locked in a kind of ritual. It wasn’t long before they were mating. Oh, for my camera, but alas, it happened as I watched from my kitchen window. Spring must not be far behind.
If unfamiliar with Doves, I located this background on Whipikedia…
Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae that includes about 310 species. Pigeons are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and short, slender bills with fleshy ceres. They feed on seeds, fruits, and plants. This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones.
In general, the terms “dove” and “pigeon” are used somewhat interchangeably. Pigeon is a French word that derives from the Latin pipio, for a “peeping” chick, while dove is a Germanic word that refers to the bird’s diving flight. In ornithological practice, “dove” tends to be used for smaller species and “pigeon” for larger ones, but this is in no way consistently applied, and historically, the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation between the terms. The species most commonly referred to as “pigeon” is the rock dove, one subspecies of which, the domestic pigeon, is common in many cities as the feral pigeon.
Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests – often using sticks and other debris – which may be placed in trees, on ledges, or on the ground, depending on species. They lay one or two eggs at a time, and both parents care for the young, which leave the nest after seven to 28 days. Unlike most birds, both sexes of doves and pigeons produce “crop milk” to feed to their young, secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop. Young doves and pigeons are called “squabs”.