What a question! A resident of River Grove hears it every day, for this is a popular interpretation of what one of our most familiar birds has to say, especially in the morning hours. It’s the White-Winged Dove, the most prominent member of the dove family. It makes Southeastern Arizona a summer home. In winter, these doves migrate in some numbers to Southern Mexico and the Caribbean. Still, many remain with us throughout the year.
A dove can keep up asking the question for more extended periods, causing one to wonder if they are not tempted to use other calls. They do have different calls, ones associated with mating. When they fly, especially at the beginning of the flight, a distinct whistling sound comes from the wings. The whistling is most evident during take-off and may serve as an alarm to astonish predators. The sound is produced by rapidly beating wings—certain feathers vibrate to make the sound. If you have ever startled a group of perhaps a dozen ground-feeding doves, you know what I mean.
White-winged doves one of the pollinators of the desert, and their specialty is the saguaro cactus. Their migration is likely timed to arrive for saguaro flowering. Once grains were introduced by farmers, the white-winged doves broadened their diet. So, today, if you provide any mix of grains, doves will gather, and tomorrow there will be more. Some [anonymous] RG residents have unwittingly attracted three dozen doves to their units. And when they take off, what a whistling there is! But think twice about making such a well-intentioned choice: they also are likely to crash into your windows.
Finally, there is nesting. Doves stick together in family units, so it appears. They build very crude nests out of twigs, and they make them in the oddest places. The top of your outdoor light works for them, as do the rafters of our carports. The most troubling choice is the place where the wipers rest on the hood of a car. If this happens, the kindly motorist sometimes gently moves the crude little nest as soon as possible before the eggs appear. Do not be surprised if the nest reappears the following day.
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