Mourning Dove
Zenaida macroura

The mourning dove is native to Southern California, but early in the 20th century it was largely displaced from the Los Angeles basin by the Chinese spotted dove.  In recent decades it seems to be making a come back.

mourning dove, Zenaida macroura The mourning dove is most easily distinguished at a distance by its sharply pointed tail.  The spotted dove has a rounded tail, and the ground dove has a short, squared off tail.

mourning dove, Zenaida macroura This pair of mourning doves, female on the left, male on the right (probably).  Observing them at close range (2 ft. or so) I was able to distinguish them by individual differences in their feathers.  I expect that the one which spent time on the nest while it was empty, and before incubation began was the female.

mourning dove, Zenaida macroura This picture of the eggs was taken through the open window minutes before incubation was started.  From then, the pair turns from time to time.  But we were never able to observe the shift change.  The birds were aware as we let the grand kids watch through the closed window.  But as long as we moved slowly they didn't seem concerned.

mourning dove, Zenaida macroura Having accustomed them to my presence, I was able take this picture of the young from outside, at about 4 ft.  I was also able to run the lawn mower right under the window box without alarming the birds.  The next year the same pair returned and raised four broods on our front porch. For more information about these doves, see The Return of Mourning Doves.

[Taxonomy : Classification]
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