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Breakfast for Birds

January 24th, 2010

It’s been a long, wet, soggy, foggy week.  A short stay with the flu (always seems longer than it is) and I missed most of it, but learned once again the value of soup and a light diet!   Haven’t been sick in at least a year, and this one snuck up quick one night and stayed for a few days.   Of course now my appetite is making up for it…  

Lots of rain though, and the ground is really saturated.  Hopefully we won’t see the wind storms we do at times, because that’s when trees tend to blow over.  The birds don’t seem to mind the water though.   Instead of our typical wild birds at the feeders, a host of Mourning Doves showed up early one day to enjoy a breakfast banquet with friends.

mourning-doves-feeding

I haven’t seen this many before- there were nearly twenty-five at one point and they’re pretty skittish. The least movement or sound and they fly off in complete abandon, nearly in all directions and some thumping on the windows of the house.    Most the year I hardly see them at all, and they hide and roost in the forest pretty effectively. 

Doves are “in season” from about the first of September through early November here in Missouri.  They’re hunted pretty hard in the farm areas, and are not easy targets.   They fly incredibly fast, and are not easy to find.  Usually a dove hunter sets up near a field where they’ll feed early in the morning or late in the afternoon.   It’s not too far off for an average hunter to go through a box of shells and only take a few doves home.   Yes- they’re pretty little as far as birds go, but they sure do make for a fine meal when prepared right.   They’re not like chicken, but more like a lean dark-meat bird like duck, and more tender.     I sure enjoy seeing them come to the feeders in winter though, and glad they can find what they need.

I didn’t get out much this year to help stock the freezer with wild game.  I hope to do better next year because we are really blessed in Missouri with plentiful wildlife to help with food stores and costs.   Not to mention the fishing!  If one wanted to stock a freezer full of panfish it wouldn’t be very difficult.  Instead most of us purchase expensive salmon or roughy or tilapia…     Just our culture these days, and the pace of life. 

One of my boyhood friends loves to fish, but doesn’t have much time anymore.  When he’s asked now if he enjoys fishing, he says “You bet!” and then describes in glorious detail how he “goes fishing” and finds the diversity of the seafood section at his favorite grocery store.  

I take for granted the fish we have right in our own pond.  Always like the thought that they’re there if we need them, but we don’t eat them very often.  Maybe this year it’ll be different… we’ll see.    

The ice on the pond is almost gone now.   I wonder if we’ll see really cold weather again this winter?  I don’t know about you, but a little sun would be nice… :)



4 Responses to “Breakfast for Birds”

  1. Ed Abbeyon 24 Jan 2010 at 11:05 am

    I haven’t seen any doves up here for years. Quail which was plentiful and then died out hard in the early 90’s is slowly making a comeback though is still scarce. The only gamebird we have a lot of is pheasant and we have some of the best hunting in the midwest. Provided we didn’t lose much this winter which has been pretty hard, we should have a huge population this fall since most of the crops in this past fall meant few were shot last year.

    You know, I don’t even know where my fishing rod is right now. That is really sad and something I need to remedy.

  2. R. Shermanon 24 Jan 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I came home early the other day to a flock of multiple hundreds of crows in my back yard, eating what I do not know. Still a few months before the blue birds appear.

    Cheers.

  3. warrenon 25 Jan 2010 at 11:55 am

    I have been out of it for awhile…I guess I need some sunshine too! Anyhow, dove hunting is such fun, but you are so right about being able to shoot up a box of shells and have little to show for it…but dang is it fun! Anyhow, spring must be near…hold tight!

  4. Beauon 25 Jan 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Ed- Wow, I’m surprised you don’t have doves. Quail are rare here now also- many think the rise of the turkey population coincides with the fall of the quail. Others say it’s just habitat management. I last heard a quail on our property three years ago. Ten years ago there used to be two coveys in the area- but none here now. But I’m really jealous about your pheasant population! One day I’ll take a trip up there… hey I’ll trade you fishing for pheasant hunting :) You do need to find that rod and take the young one to the pond!
     
    Randall- I haven’t seen that many crows before, my goodness! I caught a glimpse of some bluebirds the other day- passing by on their way back to the forests. Love them around here in the other seasons.
     
    Warren- Spring is near? Help me find it! I’m really looking foward to it this year… almost time to get starts in boxes!

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