“By virtue of their melancholy call, Mourning Doves have been fittingly named as such. Their distinctive “wooo-oo-oo-oo” sounds may evoke a feeling of grief over the loss of a dearly beloved.
But far from representing death, the symbolism of Mourning Doves is actually more optimistic and spiritual. Beyond their sorrowful song is a message of life, hope, renewal and peace.”
(www.brighthubeducation.com) The Eloquent Symbolism of Mourning Doves
The pair of Mourning Doves were, in the beginning of our meeting, weary of me and my little Canon. The slightest movement or noise always prompted their swift flight into the woods.
Through the passing seasons, I’ve become familiar to the doves and they’ve grown comfortable with me. I like watching them walk the way they do, with obvious intention, bobbing their soft pretty heads in the grass.
The birds first appeared in my backyard during Winter. Our dog had very recently passed and my heart was full of grief.
I heard the ‘cooing’ sound one day and to my surprise, when I opened the door, two Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), were perched about ten feet away on a line that had once been a dog-run. Our new bird-feeder was hanging from it, which I guess attracted the birds.
The birds presence struck my heart-strings.
Sadness had the biggest part of my heart when my new backyard flyers arrived. I missed our dog in a terrible way. I felt flooded with loss and pain.
“The Blackfoot tribe associated the dove with protection and safe return from battle, and dove feathers were often carried by war leaders as talismans to help them bring their men back safely. In some Eastern Algonquian tribes, turtledoves (an old-time name for Mourning Doves) were associated with the spirit world, and heard at certain times, their cries could be omens of death.”
SOURCE: www.native-languages.org, Native American Indian Dove and Pigeon Mythology.
I did wonder if the birds appearance was an omen. I wondered about my death. I was not well, and hadn’t been in some time. In fact, my health was at an all time low.
The thought that my life might soon end had passed through my mind more than once during Winter and when the Mourning Doves appeared, I was acutely aware of the doom I felt.
I decided to allow my intuition to guide me in my understanding of the birds timely arrival to our little home.
Doves (Columbidae) have strong maternal instincts and both parents go to great lengths to protect their nests and hatchlings. Perhaps this is the meaning of their visit, I thought to myself.
Part of the sadness I often feel, apart from being physically ill, which is depressing, is that I just can’t seem to get things right in my life, particularly regarding family and home. I have devoted most of my time to being available in this arena, but sometimes it seems like I haven’t made much progress.
Surviving our most recent winter was especially difficult. I was truly worn out! I spent a lot of time in my bedroom watching movies, crying over the loss of our dog, and trying to be more available to my sweet Ruthie.
She had been the greatest nurse in the world to her pack mate. She never left his side and did amazing things to help him feel better before his time was up on this earth. Now, she needed me.
A Robin had come to stay for the season, living off the Holly berries on the little tree near my bedroom window. Every day I watched the bird fly from his high resting place in the Sweet Gum tree, down to my porch railing, where he feasted and occasionally, warded off other interested birds.
Watching the Robin made my days of hibernation more interesting and gave me a direct connection with nature.
The doves spent the rest of the cold weather perched on high branches, just past my backyard tree line.
Spring started what has been an incredible bountiful time in my yard for the many birds that decided to call this place home.
Carolina Wrens nested by my window. I listened and watched them from the first days the mother started gathering materials (some of which came from my LL Bean sleeping bag), until the last little hatchling literally fell from the nest.
The Cardinals like my yard too! I’ve been especially humbled watching both the female and male feed their young. All the birds I’ve seen in my yard are incredibly attentive and committed parents.
My backyard birdwatching has touched me in a primal way.
Strangely, I have wanted to be more like the birds. Watching them care for their families was humbling. I wished for whatever it is they have that makes them so incredibly focused on their task at hand. I told a friend my thoughts on the matter.
“They are animals,” my friend said. “You are human,” he added. “We (humans) have such greater ability to think and ponder on things than birds do. All they have to do is gather food.”
I understood what my friend was saying, but the longing in me remained.
Spring has passed and Summer is whispering an inevitable departure. My backyard has been more quiet during these last days of August.
I’m happy to report that the beautiful winged doves are still around. They’re foraging in the grass as I write, along with a couple of Cardinals and a Rufus-sided Towhee. I think I’ll take a walk outside, quietly, so that I can get a more intimate view.
Below is a gallery of Mourning Doves in my yard. You may click on each photo for a larger view. I hope you enjoy!
Thanks for your visit to Green Healing Notes!