WINTER VISITORS – White Winged Dove

The Button Box


This year we have a pair of new visitors in our yard. We have never had any of these come to visit and I had to get the Field Guide for Birds out to find out what they are. The book shows they are from Mexico and desserts of south west United States. They nest in mature citrus groves and saguaro-paloverde deserts.
These little ones (well they are 11″ beak to tail) must not have good navigational skills yet because they are a long way from their home in Texas and Mexico. They also love the peanuts chips that I put on the patio every day. I just looked in the book and it says their call is a soft rolling cooing call that sounds like who-cooks-for-you. So I have heard one softly cooing on the patio as it contentedly picks up the peanut chips.
I love to watch them walk. They have these cute pink feet and after watching them walk around the yard and patio I know where the saying Pigeon toed comes from. When they walk each foot crosses over the one on the ground and turns in as they step down. They don’t bob the head up and down as much as the morning doves that are normal for this part of the country but I love to watch the pigeon toed walk they have.
We have had regular doves around the yard and neighborhood for years and I love to hear them cooing in the trees. They also like to come and get the sunflower seeds or just eat the shells like the white winged doves. They are the clean up crew for our yard, but we don’t have enough of them around to keep up with the squirrels shelling and eating the sunflower seeds.
Over the years we have had strange birds in the yard that don’t belong here. One summer there was a little bird I had never seen before. He was from the East coast and Florida the book said. When he walked he looked like a ship bobbing on the waves with his body swinging forward and back. His head was bobbing all the time he was walking. He was good for a chuckle when he was in the yard.
We always have visitors from Canada in the winter. They don’t like the cold I guess and I can’t blame them. These little visitors are Juncos. Most are a really dark grey on the back and almost black and others are lighter and almost a brown tint to their backs.
The Juncos love to eat on the patio where I throw out peanut chips. I also put the peanut chips on the brick ledge under the patio window and the step below and they will come up there to eat and if there is nothing on the ledge they will look in the window to let me know they need food.
We also have Canadian sparrows which are bigger and have a black head and a different color pattern than our sparrows. We usually have about 30 of them at least in the yard all winter. We know that the first winter storm is on the way and winter has arrived when they show up in the yard. They must ride the storm winds in and then just decide to stay because there are 5 feeders in the yard with their favorite black oil sunflower seeds in them.
One year we had a turkey that lived mostly in the field across the road but would venture across Monroe Street now and then to check out the front yard under the two feeders out there. We named him Lonesome George because the other turkeys had shunned him. He had a bum left leg and had to hop to get around on the other leg. So we always made sure there was food in the corner of the field when he arrived or when he came into our yard.
We have always had lots of birds both in summer and then our winter visitors. Some times like this year I had to get out the bird book to find out what our new little visitors this year are. I have really enjoyed seeing this beautiful pair of White Winged Doves in the yard. What is it about our yard that brings in new birds every winter? Do they somehow spread the word that there is good food and always plenty of it and how to get there? But we are always glad to see the northern birds and now the Doves from Texas even if the Doves are way out of their normal area. To contact Sandy: [email protected].


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