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Apr 25, 2012

475 million Mourning Doves

Photo by BarrytheBirder

Mourning Dove
Zenaida macroura

I repeatedly amaze myself by assuming I know a lot about birds and then discover constantly that the opposite is true.   Here is information about the Mourning Dove that I have just discovered.   It's species name comes in part from the name of the wife of the man ( Charles Bonaparte) who named the bird in 1838.   Her name was Princess Zenaide.   The second part of the name is macroura, Greek for 'long-tailed'.   While I always regarded the Mourning Dove as a songbird, many people regard it as gamebird.    It is the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds and is the leading gamebird in the U.S.A., with at least 20 million being shot each year and in some years ranging from 40 to 70 million shot - approximately 10 to 15% of their total population of 475 million birds!   I think in Canada Mourning Doves are legally hunted in one of our western provinces and in Quebec.   I don't think I know anyone who has ever shot a Mourning Dove.   Apparently their meat tastes like liver.   They are one of my favourite birds and can (and do) take refuge in my backyard every day. May it ever be thus.

Wikipedia Photo/Andrew Atzert
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