A Song for May 21

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Click the sonogram to hear and see the sound.

For a change of pace, let's try a dove. This sample is typical of the doves and pigeons of the family Columbidae in being very low in pitch, with very simple patterns of pitch-change. It's a tune you could hum or sing easily. So could an owl. Owls and columbids share these characteristics, and doves in particular are often mistaken for owls. The reciprocal mistake is seldom made because no one expects to hear a pigeon at night. Why they expect to hear an owl when doves are cooing I'm not sure.

Here we have a fine example of the White-winged Dove's short song, which sounds a lot like "Who cooks for you?" The Barred Owl is also known for asking this question, as you can hear at the beginning of the song for April 26. I have heard this question from other species around the world, too.

After the intial song on the cut, you can hear several other dovers, a Western Wood Pewee, a Gila Woodpecker, and a loud Yellow Warbler in the background. Then the dove give his long song. White-winged Doves are perhaps the most numerous birds in Southwestern U.S. deserts, and these sounds rival those of the Cactus Wren for the title "sound of the desert." White-winged Doves have now spread well beyond the deserts as they expand their range north and east. It appears to be a good time to be a dove.

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