Over the weekend I was thrilled to have a familiar bundle of feathers once again at my feeders. All summer I had dozens of mourning doves - feeding, sunning, stretching, preening, and trying to get laid - all through the yard, but they've been sadly absent for the past few weeks. Instead, the Eurasian collared-doves have taken over, but I've missed the gentle mourning doves.
When I went to take out the trash on Sunday, however, a tawny gray bundle of feathers moved about in the flower bed near my weeping tree, and slowly a solitary mourning dove walked onto the patio, pecking here and there at a loose seed or bit of grit. Though I've been used to these doves and they are larger than most of my backyard birds, I was surprised to see how small they look in comparison to the Eurasian collared-doves to which I've become accustomed.
It was a cold day for this dove, however, and it stayed on the concrete, puffed up and still, keeping well insulated against the bitter breezes, though it was beautiful to watch with its fawn-colored plumage and pink breast wash. It stayed for awhile, and was eventually joined by another mourning dove who wasn't so bold as to come onto the patio. Still, they are welcome to stay, and the feeders are refilled this morning for whomever may be interested in a meal or a snack. Welcome home, friend!