Plate 19: Mourning Dove

Zenaida macroura

Nests & Eggs: Mourning Dove

Their soft, familiar coo sounds like a lament. You’ll find them on telephone lines and patches of bare ground.

There is something about a dove which makes you want to know him better. Could it be his low mournful call? (And why do we call it mournful? Someone described it in that manner, and while it is not as colorful as other bird notes, it has a restful and pleasing quality.) Could it be the graceful flight which shows the pointed tail with the white trimming? Could it be dainty steps which seem to fit his personality? Perhaps the way he drinks by inserting his bill and swallowing water until he has his fill. It might be the way he builds his nest: no time wasted when this bird constructs a home. It might even be the way he jerks his head, as if trying to get a better focus on the sights of the world.

Some call him brown; if so, where did we get the description, “dove colored”? In good light, the head and neck have a rich sheen which blends with the rest of the body. All in all, he is a beautiful bird.

He nests in almost any spot which suits his fancy, on the ground, in evergreens, around buildings, well out on a limb or in the crotch of a tree, but always in a loosely constructed home, unless he takes over some well constructed nest, made by others.

His food consists mostly of weed seeds.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol. II
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the Mourning Dove story in Bird Biographies out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XIX: Mourning Dove, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the Mourning Dove at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The mourning dove is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER XXXIV. Mourner the Dove and Cuckoo.
Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Mourning Dove Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Mourning Dove
Bird picture for notebook.

Mourner the Dove
Corresponding print from The Burgess Bird Book.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book
Dover Nature Coloring Book based on Fifty Birds of Town and City by Bob Hines. Includes the mourning dove.

Mourning Dove Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:

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