Despite our carefully choosing feeders too small for doves or which require perching which doves find very difficult, they showed up en masse today. Not that they’ve ever been gone. They were gone from the feeders, not from the area. There is always a lot of seed on ground and the doves find a fair bit of food, even if they can’t take over the feeders. Today, though, they were back and I couldn’t figure out why — until I realized that were escorting their young for a feeding … and the young are still small enough to squeeze into the sort-of-flat feeder.

They sit in the trees and watch the feeders
You can see the “married” parents guarding their young one in the feeder. Doves marry for life, though they often don’t live long. Hawks hunt them

This was our first sunny day in more than 10 days and we might have another one tomorrow. It has been so warm that the doves produced a clutch out of season. They would normally be on “hiatus” this time of year.

At one point, the doves had taken over the deck, so I opened the door and I swear dozens of doves rose up from the ground, the trees and the deck. It is our little version of Piccadilly Circus but doves rather than pigeons. To be fair, pigeons are doves that have adopted city living.

A few doves would be fine, but we have an awful lot of them. They aren’t aggressive, but they are protective. They hover. They guard. They watch. They prevent the small birds from eating from the feeders even though they can’t really eat there themselves. When they get too pushy, I scatter them.

Categories: #Birds, #Photography, Anecdote

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12 replies

  1. Hi Marilyn, we also have problems with doves if we put out seed. I only put out fruit now and a little meat sometimes for Eleanor, my hadeda.


    • Mostly, they leave the feeders alone. I bought feeders that simply don’t have places for the doves to stand. I think it’s that they have young ones and they brought them for their first “big meal.” We are the buffet, it would seem. There’s a lot of seed on the ground that gets knocked off the feeders — and I throw out fresh vegetables and fruit that’s going a little too ripe, but it’s fine for the birds, squirrels, and woodchucks. This was the first time in months the doves moved in. Today, they are gone again. I don’t know where they are, but there are a lot of people around the area who feed birds.

      My guess is all we feeders have our own entourage, depending on where we live. People with a big, flat grassy yard see more ground birds — quail and partridge. The farm around the corner has a huge bunch of quail — and they are rapidly disappearing. They feed them and have actually built them a place to nest.

      We’ve only seen partridge once when they came strolling out of the woods for a snack. They looked very much at home, so they must be regulars, but we don’t see them very often.

      The doves are a problem, but they aren’t as bad as the brown-headed cowbirds were. They were downright aggressive! Fortunately, once I convinced them (by removing the feeders entirely for a month) to move on, they haven’t come back. I really hope they don’t return. They are troublemakers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is wonderful that people in your area feed the birds. I think we are the only people in my area who do. Suburban people don’t think about the birds and other creatures very often. Doves are greedy and we’ve had issues with them too.


  2. Are you still sketching birds?


    • I’m not sketching at all at the moment. My right wrist decided to quit working. I tried to push it and it got worse. I finally was able to take the brace off and I’ve given it a couple of months of rest, so I’m hoping as spring rolls around, it will be usable. My right wrist has been worked over for a long time. The pencils were particularly hard on it. If I was painting and using brushes, they wouldn’t hurt as much. The only thing that was worse was playing piano. It was so bad I finally sold the piano. I’ve got arthritis in the hand (especially bad around the thumb) and problems with the carpal tunnel nerve.

      There is a surgery, but it’s only about 50% successful and at my age, even less. I can’t lose my right hand. At least I can still type.. If I lose that, I don’t know what I would do with myself. I’m super careful my hands now. I won’t lift pots, pans, dishes — anything heavy. One bad lift and the wrist is in a brace for a month.

      I am told this IS what usually happens if you start playing piano when you are very young. I was four. Everything is fine until it isn’t. Pianists develop arthritis in their hands with a few rare exceptions. All the pounding on the keyboard takes a toll which you don’t feel until one day, you’re playing and out of the blue, there’s a serious pain where your hand was. When I was still trying to practice (a few years ago), I had to soak my hands in ice water after playing for as little as 10 minutes.

      I was sure this would never happen to ME. Funny about that…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, my goodness – I didn’t realize you were having such problems caused by the drawing. I’m sorry to learn that it was ultimately the result of early piano playing, too. Our bodies are not designed to go on working forever as we’d like them to do, are they? I tend to agree with you that what you can do with your right hand is more important than having a surgery that sounds pretty iffy — I think I’d pass on that too!
        Like you, I’m in the middle of annual checkups — a quick and easy operation to fix the cataract surgery that I had several years ago, and a MOHS surgery on my nose should complete that process, and then a checkup with the oncologist. I am very hopeful that we will not lose the social security and medicare that we have earned, though concerned that there will be major changes affecting both!


        • I can’t even THINK about losing SSN or medicare. I’d be dead in a week. You reminded me that I used to draw, so I draw a couple of birds, just to make sure I could. I can.

          But you are write. Our teeth grind down, our eyes don’t see like they used to. Arthritis makes us move slowly. We are bundles of chronic ailments. We have cancer or had it and wonder when or if it’s coming back. We outlive ourselves — if we are lucky.

          My mother was dead at 68 and my brother at 60. More of my friends are gone than are still here, so however complicated it gets, I might as well do my best to enjoy life to the extent I can. And I’m optimistic that those infusions are helping. We need to be do our best to enjoy this life since it’s the only life we can be sure we will have.


  3. They are so graceful


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