BIRDS OF NEW ENGLAND AND EASTERN NEW YORK - HOFFMANN

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PIGEONS: ORDER COLUMBÆ

PIGEONS: FAMILY COLUMBIDÆ

MOURNING DOVE. Zenaidura macroura
11.85 in.

Ad. ♂.— Back of head bluish-gray; rest of head and neck pinkish-brown, sides of neck with metallic reflections; a small black spot below the ear; back, and wings and tail when closed brown; outer tail-feathers and wing-feathers, when opened, bluish; the outer tail-feathers much shorter than the middle pair, banded with black, tipped with white; breast pinkish-brown; belly buffy. Ad. ♀.— Similar, but duller; hardly any bluish on head. Im.— Dựller and browner than ♀.

Nest, a loose platform of sticks, generally in trees, not over ten feet from the ground. Eggs, two, white.

The Mourning Dove is a summer resident of central and southern New England and of the Hudson Valley, arriving late in March, and remaining till October. Though found as far north as Concord, N. H., it is generally rare north of southern Connecticut, or only locally common in the broader river valleys. It frequents sandy plains and the edges of old fields, particularly in the neighborhood of pine groves and of orchards, in both of which it nests. In late summer it feeds the stubble of grain-fields, and is not infrequently to be seen from the cars, as it flies off at the approach of the engine. Its notes, heard in early spring, particularly at sunrise and sunset, are like the strokes of a distant bell, low and sweet, but mournful. They may be written thus: coo-ah, coo, coo, coo.

When a dove flies from the ground, it often lights in some tree near by; its long, rounded tail, marked with black and deeply tipped with white, serves as an excellent field-mark. At a distance the general appearance of the bird is brownish, but it is readily told by its pigeon-like aspect, and by its flight, which is very swift, rather low, and is accompanied by a noticeable whistling sound. (See Yellow-Billed Cuckoo.)

[graphic]

Tail of Mourning

NOTE. — The Wild Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), formerly seen in innumerable multitudes, is now practically extinct in New England. Any bird which answers fairly well to the description of the Pigeon, unless seen in the woods of northern New England or by a very well trained observer, is probably the Mourning Dove.


[ROCK PIGEON]. Columba livia
11.85 in.

The Rock Pigeon wasn't included in the original book. Not native of New York or New England but thriving there as in many other parts of the world.


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