August 1, 2017

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Mourning Doves nest on the Chico and nest in 48 of our 50 states. Their common name comes from their song with sounds mournful to many.  They nest early and often.  The species name, macroura, comes from the Greek macros (long) and oura (tail) and adults have a long tail making this species 12 inches in length. Their song is low-pitched, soft and mournful and sounds like oo-ah cooo-cooo-coo. Because it so soft, the song can easily go undetected.  This species usually leaves Colorado by mid-September although a few sometimes remain if there is abundant food.  It is popular with hunters and 42 of the Lower 48 states allows hunting of this species which sometimes, but not lately, concentrates in large numbers in or near large sunflower patches where the birds forage on the ground feeding on the sunflower seeds. They are fast in flight, sometimes flying over 40 mph.  This one was recently perched on the metal cowboy marking the turn towards the bird banding station.

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