Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


In our backyard especially, past a certain time of year you can't venture out without hearing one or more white-tailed dove calling.  We have lots of them.

Lots and lots.

Years ago, when I first read the call of the white tailed dove described as asking "who cooks for you?" I found it all fairly annoying.  I'd begun to laugh a little bitterly whenever Prince's popular song "When Doves Cry" off his Purple Rain album was played on the radio.  I'd even been caught muttering "shut up!" in response to their ceaseless taunts.

That all began to change after family trips taken to Hawaii where white tailed dove wandered (and called) freely around the grounds of a resort we enjoyed for several years running.  I gradually began to associate them with vacations and beaches.

And sunset cocktails before dinner and pampered relaxation.  Anything other than the idea of ask not whom cooks for thee because thy is thine own cook all the damn time and don't ask who cleans up for thee, either.  Stupid doves.
I tried to find ways to admire them.  They have a pretty blue lining around their red (demonic) eyes.  They don't seem to be particularly picky eaters. They are just as happy cleaning up stale tortillas I'd leave out for the squirrels as food left in the bowl of the feral cat that adopted us.

The dove do try occasionally to feed more appropriately out of the bird feeder we have in the back yard,
but mostly they just sit on top of it and (no polite way around this, sorry), poop.  As a matter of fact, there is a new feeder we've placed out in front, and so far the only bird action it has seen is this optional dove finial.

Of course it will take time for the birds to find the new feeder and trust it. My daughter suggested the inevitable dove "coating" will probably help the new feeder smell less like "factory" or "store" and more like "local".
As constant as doves and dove noise is around here, I figured they must be nesting close by. I'd always wondered where.

I'd spotted multiple large clumps up high in some of the tallest of our trees that I thought must belong to doves.  Or squirrels.

As it turns out?  Both.  I finally spotted a dove peaking out over the edge of one of the nests, and then determined there were squirrels constantly guarding the approach up the tree to the other.

I realize squirrels and doves aren't as exotic looking or nearly as adorable as the baby owlets featured on other local blogs recently, but it's all too easy to fall into that trap of always wanting whatever you don't have.  Right?  Doves and squirrels!  We've sure enough got those.  Lots.  And lots.


Tina said...

So funny! "Stupid doves." I can't tell how many times I've thought and said that. I've got lots of those too. I'm not quite as fond of the doves as I am of the squirrels, but I accept both as part of the mosaic of wildlife in my gardens. I will admit that I like to hear the doves "Who cooks for you?" in the middle of the night. It feels like a harbinger of the day to come.

TexasDeb said...

Tina: You are obviously more tolerant of mid-evening interrogations than I am. (You probably are more tolerant, period.) The "mosaic of wildlife" - I love that.

Debra said...

That dove sound is soporific and it does remind me of holidays.
However, I do have a not so fond memory of them. A science teacher once asked me if I wanted to have pet doves for my classroom. Sure! Free pets! I set them up and was so pleased. Well, those birds would NOT shut up and all the kids complained all the time about the noise.
I returned them to the science teacher and he thought it was terribly amusing that we had lasted a whole week. ha ha ha sooo funny =)

TexasDeb said...

Debra: Your kids were right to demand a recall - doves are incessantly noisy and I say this as somebody who talks A LOT. Doves are the bird equivalent of telephone salespersons who always manage to ring you up just as you sit down for dinner, only doves'd be calling all day long.