Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
Mourning Dove,Zenaida macroura. (Plate 11.1) Male length 11 in (28 cm), female length 10 1/2 in (26.5 cm); male weight 4 1/4 oz (122 g), female weight 4 oz
(113 g). Fairly common summer (permanent?) resident in the White-Inyo Range; occurs up to approximately 10,000 ft (3,050 m).
This species inhabits a variety of habitats, including pinyon woodland, sagebrush, riparian thickets, and meadows. The birds travel long distances daily in search of both food and water. Mourning Doves feed primarily in open areas such as meadows and grassland, where they can find an ample supply of seeds from herbaceous plants. Grain can also constitute an important part of the diet; this is taken mainly in cultivated fields at lower elevations. Tiny pebbles and gravel are also consumed to help grind seeds in the muscular stomach. Nesting habitat requirements are flexible. The preferred nesting substrate consists of a horizontal branch in a tree or shrub, but the flimsy nest may also be built on the ground if woody vegetation is lacking. In addition, Mourning Doves commonly use abandoned nests, either of their own species or of others. Strongly monogamous, Mourning Doves are commonly seen in pairs. This species is easily detected by its characteristic call, a mournful awoo-coo-coo-coo . Reference: Johnsgard (1975).