A SPECIAL TREE

The Mourning Dove’s Tree

We have collected a lot of doves. Doves breed frequently, but usually they also die fast. The article I read about them the other day described their lives as “short and brutal.” They are plump and make great dinners for the hawks. But living as they do right around our deck, only certain hawks can fly well in such tight spaces as our woods. Cooper’s Hawk and the Shinbone are both fast woodland flyers but flying fast turns in our woods is as likely as not going to get them bonked on the head.

The Dove in our tree

It turns out that while they are brilliant pilots, they still manage to fly into trees and brain themselves. Yet even these two fast flying bird-eating hawks have trouble maneuvering in our tightly packed woods.

So, instead of being lunch, our doves are thriving. They aren’t the brightest birds you’ll ever meet, but they are sweet. No other bird, no matter how small and fragile, fears the doves.

Our doves like to stand around near the feeders and “guard it.” But against whom? Maybe it’s more like “standing guard,” their version of honoring the feeders because it is where dinner originates.

And maybe they will live a little bit longer as a result.



Categories: Anecdote, birds, Birds, Gallery, Mourning Dove, Photography, square

Tags: , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. We used to feed the doves but they became rather a nuisance. They would sit on the grass all day waiting to be fed and they chased all the smaller birds away.

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  2. oh I love the idea they have their own tree – wonderful Marilyn. Guessing you have survived the storms

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    • The Wi-Fi went on and off intermittently and the lights blinked a bit, but we didn’t flood (there were flood warnings for the county), but we didn’t get any wind worth mentioning. That was all reserved for the coastline and we’ve about 40 miles inland. We’re all rivers, not shoreline. So aside from a lot of rain, we’re okay. The birds got pretty wet, though 🙂

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  3. I would love to see images of those Hawks…

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    • I see hawks, but they are almost always moving very fast and usually high up, so all you get is a silhouette. You need to be very sneaky and very quite and sit sort of hidden in the woods (OH those mosquitoes!) to get better hawk pictures — of just be very lucky. I SEE hawks, but I never have a camera at the ready. I often see them in the woods, but there’s so much tree in front of them, there’s no way to get a photo.

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  4. They are indeed sweet birds, Marilyn, and you’ve captured them beautifully. I”m glad they’re thriving in your little wooded haven. Interesting reading about hawks flying into trees and braining themselves, because we’ve been talking about exactly that recently, wondering if the buzzards we see swooping into woodlands ever do that. I guess they must do, then. Ouch…

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    • Everyone likes to talk about what brilliant flyers the small hawks are — and indeed they are. “How,” I wondered, “Do they manage to avoid banging into trees?”

      It turned out that they usually missed. Except when they don’t. And of course, the tighter packed the trees are, the more likely they are to miscalculate a turn and whacko, down goes a Shinbone or Cooper’s Hawk. I felt that made the battle to survive somehow more equal, like giving rifles to the deer so they can shoot back.

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      • Likethat idea of giving rifles to the deer! 😀 Interesting info about the hawks, and very timely for our recent family conversations on the subject!

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        • I was surprised that there were specific hawks that eat other birds. Actually, ALL hawks will eat smaller birds if they can, but some hawks — the two I named — specifically hunt birds. Doves are very popular because there are so many of them and they aren’t fast flyers. But our woods is a bit overgrown and for a hawk to catch anything, he has to fly very fast and not hit a tree. But, of course, even the best pilot can hit a tree. Oops.

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          • We’ve got loads of birds like that too. I guess that’s nature for you though – red in tooth and claw. Still, I do feel sorry for the hawks with headaches!

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