The Dove’s Call

A mated pair of doves rest on the roof in the late afternoon sun.

A mated pair of mourning doves rests on a roof in the late afternoon sun.

The mourning dove’s (Zenaida macroura) call is a wild, haunting sound that complements the whistle of its wings. In mid-August, doves coo softly in the cool of early morning and in the sultry late-afternoon heat.

People react quite differently to the mourning dove’s call. A work colleague who grew up on a farm found the cooing to be so sad that her family removed any nests that were close to their farmhouse.

To our young son, who was born with a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, discovering a dove’s sounds was a time of wonder. We returned home from work and daycare, one spring evening, and startled a dove in the backyard. The forceful whistle of its wings as it flew skyward was one of the first sounds he heard with his new hearing aids. He also loved their sweet call; if the doves quieted, he would spot one on the roof and say to it, “Don’t be shy little dove. Will you sing for me again, please?”

Mourning doves are warm buff to soft gray in color with black speckles on the wings.

Mourning doves are warm buff to soft gray in color with black speckles on their wings.

I love the mourning dove’s call; I find it soothing and relaxing. It brings memories of steamy summer afternoons when I was growing up. We’d imitate their calls and try to spot them in the majestic elms that shaded Saint Paul’s streets. To find a dove’s nest woven in the boughs of a small spruce tree was pure delight. How innocent they looked with their large, dark eyes and bespeckled wings, nestled on a clutch of bright white eggs. How excited we were to experience this tiny bit of nature so close to home.

6 thoughts on “The Dove’s Call

  1. I too find the mourning dove’s call soothing. It seems to me that we don’t hear or see them as often as we did as children. I miss them.

    • Hi Linda, I think part of the trouble is that life is so much noisier now, with so many motorized tools being used outside. We stayed in town over the July 4th holiday and we were amazed at how quiet it was with everyone else out of town! The doves and other birds were amazing! 🙂

  2. Beautiful as ever, my friend.

    Here’s a lovely, quiet Pentecost hymn we sometimes sing at Gloria Dei. Maybe you know it, too.

    Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song

    1 Like the murmur of the dove’s song,
    like the challenge of her flight,
    like the vigor of the wind’s rush,
    like the new flame’s eager might:
    come, Holy Spirit, come.

    2 To the members of Christ’s body,
    to the branches of the vine,
    to the church in faith assembled,
    to our midst as gift and sign:
    come, Holy Spirit, come.

    3 With the healing of division,
    with the ceaseless voice of prayer,
    with the power to love and witness,
    with the peace beyond compare:
    come, Holy Spirit, come.

    Text: Carl P. Daw Jr., b. 1944
    Text © 1982 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

    Duplication in any form prohibited without permission or valid license from copyright administrator.

    Copied by permission from Sundays and Seasons. – Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.

    Lois Pallmeyer
    Pastor of Faith Formation
    Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
    Saint Paul, Minnesota

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