Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

I did not expect to catch a Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) at the BirdCam feeder.  I have only seen them ground-feeding the seed spread on the basement patio.  Sometimes they also like to just "rest" on the patio.  Apparently they find safflower seed irresistible.  I am not sure why they are called "mourning."  Perhaps it is due to their mournful calls.  They also seem to have a sad, almost pathetic aspect.  It is my instinct to feel sorry for them, only because of their appearance.  They are good sized birds, larger than a Robin and about the same size as a Northern Flicker.  The are extremely wary and will fly off in terror at the site of me.  There is a whistling noise in their flight with a flash of white in their tail feathers.

This is Washington's only dove species, and we also have one native pigeon.  The only difference is size, pigeons being larger and doves smaller.  They are common, year-around visitors to my yard, as these December photos attest.  In the last photo, the dove is joined by a Spotted Towhee at the feeder: