Mourning Doves: My Mom’s Favorite Birds

By Paul Buttner

A pair of Mourning Doves has recently made use of spot on the side of my house originally intended to accommodate a stovepipe. Yes, another featured project at my house that I never actually finished. Their unique nest site selection has allowed me exceptional access to take some great photos and videos of their nesting activity—several of which I share with you as part of this blog.

Even though this potential nesting spot has been a feature at my house for over 15 years, these birds have only come to be with me for the last two years and, interestingly, right after the passing of Mother. Coincidently, doves were my Mother’s all-time favorite birds.

When these birds first came to nest at my home, just in time for my first Mother’s Day without my Mom, I couldn’t help but wonder. Could this be my Mom coming home to sooth my soul? Maybe to keep an eye on me? Maybe bringing me even closer to nature, which she well knows is one of my great passions? Or, maybe just to look at me, through the gentle eyes of the Mourning Dove, as if to tell me “Everything is alright up here.”

In preparation for writing this piece, I began by doing some web research on Mourning Doves and found these thoughtful words:

“By virtue of their melancholy call, Mourning Doves have been fittingly named. Their distinctive “wooo-oo-oo-oo” sounds may evoke a feeling of grief over the loss of a dearly beloved. But far from representing death, the symbolism of Mourning Doves gives us optimism with its spirituality. Beyond their sorrowful song is a message of life, hope, renewal and peace.”

Wow! My journey to write about a simple pair of doves that has come to visit me could not have brought me any closer to my Mom! And no matter what reason they have come to visit me and raise their chicks each year at this time, I’m so happy to have this annual event, just in time for Mother’s Day, to remind me of my own wonderful Mom who loved these birds so much.


Paul Buttner is Manager of Environmental Affairs for the California Rice Commission.