Friday, April 20, 2012

Doves, symbol of peace or backyard bullies?

When I first placed my feeders in the backyard, doves were an infrequent visitor but apparently doves are like teenagers, once a good feeding location is found, the word gets out faster than the aforementioned teenager can text a house party location.  Before you know it there are literally dozens of them occupying the yard.  I've seen 4-5 dozen sitting on the phone and electric wires in the back and mobs of 20-30 can be found on the ground when the cats aren't around.  While doves have a reputation as symbols of peace, I think they must've had some really good "spin doctors" doing PR work for them, because I've seen them bully their way to the feeders, pushing the smaller birds out of the way like a drunk sailor muscling his way to the bar.  They descend like a mob to get at the seeds that fall to the ground and squabble amongst themselves like kids going after candy when the pinata breaks open.

All 4 species of doves previously noted can be seen in this photo.

While I haven't seen them at the feeders, the following birds have been seen in the yard:

Mimus polyglottos - Northern Mockingbird (Pres. Jefferson had one as a pet)
Quiscalus mexicanus - Great-tailed Grackle

Haven't been able to get pictures of these birds yet, but the Grackles should be fairly easy, as they like to search the lawn for insects after I water.  I'm going to put a suet feeder in the nectarine tree for the Mockingbirds, so maybe I'll get as photo op soon.

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