The Rain Dove (Zenaida macroura), better known as Mourning Dove, is also called the Turtle Dove, and formerly was known as the Carolina Pigeon or Carolina Turtledove.
It is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds. It is also the leading gamebird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and for meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure stems from its prolific breeding: in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods a year.
The Mourning Dove’s plaintive woo-OO-oo-oo-oo call gives the bird its name. Their wings can make an unusual whistling sound upon take-off and landing. The bird is a strong flier, capable of speeds up to 55 mph!
Rain Doves are muted in color — of light grey and brown. Males and females are similar in appearance. This is a medium-sized, slender dove approximately 12 inches in length and weighing 4.0–6.0 oz. They have perching feet, with three toes forward and one reversed.
The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents incubate and care for the young. These doves eat almost exclusively seeds, but the young are fed crop milk — a secretion from the lining of the crop of parent birds that is regurgitated to young birds.
Here are pics I took last May of a pair of Rain Doves under a dwarf Japanese maple in our back rock garden. They didn’t fly away although I was no more than a foot away from them.
Can you spot the doves in the first pic? LOL