Mourning doves are a common sight in North America and are widely known for their distinctive calls. Their soft, plaintive coos are a familiar sound in suburban and rural areas alike. But what exactly do these calls sound like, and what do they mean? In this article, we’ll explore the various sounds that mourning doves make and what they might signify.
The Basic Mourning Dove Call
The most common sound that mourning doves make is their soft, rhythmic cooing. This call is often described as a “who-oo-oo-oo” or “cooOOoo-woo-woo” sound, with the first syllable being higher in pitch than the second. The call is usually repeated several times in a row, with a short pause between each repetition.
The basic cooing call is used by both male and female mourning doves and can be heard throughout the year, although it is most commonly associated with the breeding season in the spring and summer.
The Mourning Dove Song
In addition to their cooing call, male mourning doves also produce a more elaborate song during the breeding season. This song is a series of soft, low-pitched coos that are often repeated in a pattern. The song can vary slightly between individuals and regions, but it generally consists of two to five coos followed by a longer, descending series of coos that ends with a low-pitched “whoo.”
The mourning dove song is used by males to establish their territory and attract a mate. It is typically heard in the early morning and late afternoon during the breeding season.
The Mourning Dove Alarm Call
Mourning doves also produce an alarm call when they feel threatened or disturbed. This call is a sharp, high-pitched “kee-kee-kee” or “kow-kow-kow” sound that is repeated rapidly several times in a row. The alarm call is often accompanied by a quick take-off and flight to safety.
The alarm call is used by both male and female mourning doves to warn others of potential danger. It can be triggered by the presence of predators, such as hawks or cats, or by sudden loud noises or movements.
The Mourning Dove Begging Call
Finally, young mourning doves produce a begging call when they are hungry or in need of attention. This call is a series of high-pitched, whistling sounds that are often repeated rapidly. The begging call is used by fledglings to signal to their parents that they need to be fed or cared for.
The begging call is usually heard during the summer months when young mourning doves are learning to fend for themselves.
Mourning doves are known for their soft, plaintive coos and are a common sight in North America. Their calls serve a variety of purposes, from attracting mates to warning others of danger. By understanding the different sounds that mourning doves make, we can better appreciate these fascinating birds and the role they play in our environment.