Since we moved to town, I thought that I wouldn't hear it anymore, but apparently the birds know I enjoy the tune because it wakes me up every morning.
I guess the doves have moved to town, too, and their cooing call is like an alarm clock for me. One sounds off, and another one answers, until I want to shout: "Enough all ready!"
There is no snooze button for mourning doves.
When it was just one or two, it was enjoyable. Now it is incessant. How do you turn them off?
Mourning doves are cousins of the extinct passenger pigeons, and sometimes I wish it were the other way around.
You can't eliminate them with shotguns. I've tried. They fly too fast and erratically.
When I did get one, I had to clean it. Phyllis, who is a whiz at defrocking pheasants and chickens, refused to handle the tiny bird (her words, not mine), so I was stuck with the chore.
As I doffed the gray feathers, I wondered how such a wee specimen could wake me up with his call from miles away. Was there some built-in mechanism which permitted him to send his song to my sleepy ears?
Phyllis interrupted my thoughtful reverie when she said: "You messed up my kitchen to clean that tiny bird (her words, not mine). He was only minding his own business when you shot him! You should be ashamed of yourself."
Momentarily, I was remorseful, and then I thought of that mournful sound.
"He'll never do that again," I told my wife, who by that time was tidying up her messy kitchen. She didn't hear a word I said, and I wondered if she'd heard the dove's song � or if she had tuned that out, too.
"Can't you hear that gloomy call?" I asked her. "I used to like it before it woke me up."
Her response was a wifely turn-off � and I knew the conversation about mourning doves was over.
That was my problem, not hers!
My dictionary calls them turtle doves (of the genus Turtur), but I opt for the mourning title because of the sad sounds they make. I used to sit by the Jim River and listen to their serenade. I didn't think it was so dour then.
But since I moved to town I hear them coo at all hours, I've had a change of heart.
I don't care if the male bird is devoted to his mate and offspring. It's his plaintive cooing which wakes me up � and that I don't like.
However, like a lot of things I find disagreeable, I'll take the mournful moan of the mourning dove, like a gum wad in my Puffed Wheat � and learn to live with it.
Of course, I could do like Phyllis and shut them off completely. But then I wouldn't have anything to complain about, and that keeps me young!
© 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz