Ripples from the Dunes, by Jennifer Klein, Woodland Dunes Land Management Coordinator
Mourning doves may not seem like very interesting birds. They are pretty common and drab in color. However, I’ve liked them since childhood. I think it started because I found it easy to mimic their call. In researching their calls, I learned that the unpaired males make the “coo-oo” followed by two or three louder coos. Males building nests make more of a “coo-OO-oo” with the middle note the highest, and females on a nest make an ohr ohr call.
Many people associate the first robin they see after winter with the beginning of spring. Some people track it by the first male red-winged black bird they see. I typically get a little more excited about spring and the warm weather and sunshine it brings when I hear Mourning doves calling in the mornings.
Recently, I discovered a Mourning dove nesting in a brush pile in my yard. She already has a full nest and two eggs. I am excited to watch her little family grow. With the recent transition to working out of my house, I am able to spend more time observing the nature in my own backyard. Having a couple of acres out in the country makes this easier but isn’t necessary. I know many people with homes on city lots who find great joy in feeding and observing song birds and even watching them raise young.
With new social distancing requirements and people perhaps having more free time, I would encourage everyone to find a way to connect with nature. If one is able to get outside, even if it is just in a backyard, try to pay attention to the sights, sounds and smells. Anyone can be a citizen scientist and even just paying attention to what one can see and hear can help track changes in our world.
Sharing our observations can foster a feeling of connection to one another. Here at Woodland Dunes, our staff is working to share our observations with the public via our Facebook page. We are also hosting a virtual run/walk, encouraging people to safely exercise while practicing social distancing. By joining an organized event, our community can still feel connected to one another through a common activity. This virtual run takes place between April 18 and May 18. There is no entry fee; however, donations are always welcomed. We are calling this run Phantom 5K, and it takes the place of our Dash at the Dunes run/walk. This year would have been the 10th Annual event. Please join us in practicing social distancing while remaining united by committing to complete a 5K walk or run wherever you safely can do so. For more information on the Phantom 5K, visit our website at www.woodlanddunes.org <http://www.woodlanddunes.org> or check out our Facebook page.