If it’s true the doves in my neighbourhood were released by a high school grad class, I have to ask, “Why? What was their motive?”
Did the entire class have a grudge against retired residents enjoying peace, quiet, and restful slumber?
Were they determined, if they now have to arise each morning to go to work, by gum no one else can sleep late either?
When the first doves appeared in our subdivision about five years ago, I didn’t expect them to survive the winter. But they did.
The following spring they were back teetering on my phone wire, and causing me to fantasize about shouldering a 12-gauge shotgun with a glint in my eye like Elmer Fudd tracking that wascally wabbit.
Surely no one would intentionally raise doves in a backyard coop. Think of their monotonous “Coo, COO – pause – Coo.”
The birds use only three notes in a consistent pattern. Often neighbours complain about a goat munching grass.
Picture the list of complaints to Animal Control about doves.
They are too slight to make a meal, unlike roosters which, though they wake you at dawn, have the good sense to give you peace the rest of the day and eventually provide a generous dinner.
So where would someone find doves for sale? Kijiji? Possibly. Anything is likely on Kijiji.
Several displaced Newfoundlanders in Calgary homesick for a traditional Jiggs dinner advertised on Kijiji for a Newfie lady to cook a Sunday dinner. From 50 replies they selected one lady who cooked them a fine meal of salted meat, boiled vegetables, pease pudding, turkey, and lots of gravy.
Wikipedia describes mourning doves thusly: “They perch on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground.” This is exactly where my pests park. They sidle together on a wire and take turns vocalizing so the neighbourhood gets no respite from them.
“Their flight is fast and bullet straight.” I can’t vouch for arrow flights but they do move often like a tenant who owes the landlord rent.
“Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments.” All they’re missing is the background drone of a Highland piper squeezing out Ashokan Farewell.
“Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America.” Easy to guess why that is. Their three-note cooing is nonstop from first daylight – 4:30 these mornings – to well beyond dusk. (Robins tune up at 4:30 also but they soon ease off.)
In fact, dusk enlivens doves like a drunk craving another drink; they realize they are running short of hours to irritate us. I believe in live and let live, and never want an animal to suffer, but an unexplained absence of these two birds would suit me fine.
How can they possibly have so much to say to each other? I imagine each dawn the female turns to her mate and coos, “We have to talk.”
And for the next 18 hours they do. Could the coos be a navigational app like the beeps of a killer whale or dolphin? Although whales and dolphins have, I believe, a wider range of sounds.
“Doves fly fast on powerful wingbeats, sometimes making sudden ascents, descents, and dodges.”
But even their dodges might prove futile if they’re targeted by a hungry red hawk. I once observed a red hawk pin a robin to the ground and within seconds all he left behind was a feather outline any taxidermist would envy.
The website goes on to say doves are particularly vulnerable to cats. Cats deserve to eat too.
Maybe I’ll visit the local animal shelter and fetch home an athletic tabby with the honed hunting instinct of an underweight wolverine nursing several kits.