Coming from the family of Columbidae and the Order of Columbiformes, Mourning Doves are members of the dove family and are related to pigeons and the extinct “Dodo bird.” Mourning Doves can be seen almost everywhere throughout the United States and certainly here in Tooele County.
Most residents don’t mind having the doves around. They can be seen on telephone wires, trees, fences, yards, roof tops, fields and sage lands. Mourning Doves are also attracted to open wilderness areas, such as those that surround our city.
Being one of the most highly visible birds of North America, Central America, and even the Caribbean, the Mourning Dove is today’s most frequently hunted species of North America. In fact, 20 to 50 million Mourning Doves are shot every year. Although these numbers may be somewhat shocking, there still remains an estimated 340 million doves across our nation.
There’s more to this bland, stumpy looking bird than imagined. For example, they have been clocked at speeds of 55 mph, and the whistling sound you hear when they take off and land is actually the wind passing through their feathers, not their vocals. Mourning Doves are also capable of drinking brackish spring water, almost drinking up to half the salinity of sea water without getting dehydrated.
Both the male and female participate in raising their young, and if their circumstances become hazardous, Mourning Doves can transport their eggs from one place to another. They do so by pecking a small hole into the shell, allowing a bit of yolk to leak out and eventually harden so they can grab it and fly away.
Addie T. Lindsay, 16, is an accomplished writer and a photographer of wildlife creatures big and small. She can be contacted at CritterChatter@live.com.