A little over a week ago (oops, forgot to post!), I heard a “cooing commotion” outside my sliding door to my deck. The back of my house gets lots of bright, direct sunlight, so I have attached a dark blanket over my light white and largely translucent covers over my sliding glass door. I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on…thought at first that a couple male doves were squabbling. I grabbed my lens and camera, supported it against my door sill, and slowly pulled the blanket back just enough so the front of the lens could poke through, without revealing the photographer behind…and I started shooting.
Instead of some fighting males, I found a cute Mourning Dove couple in cute little Dove Love. They had a little ritual. Preen, Cuddle, Kiss, Mate. They would preen themselves for a bit, then preen each other for a bit. After the preening came the cuddling, which was the cutest thing of all, and one of those rare moments when you realize that even the smallest animals are far more capable of emotional ties and feeling than we generally give them credit for. Finally, they would “kiss” (lock their beaks together and bounce their heads a bit) before finally mating. They mated a good dozen times before something scared them off.
In the time since I took these photos, this couple has taken up residence in my yard…along with two other couples. A host of unpaired males moves through on a regular basis…then you get a REAL commotion as the coupled doves defend their ladies. 😉