It’s Like A Prince Song Out There…

Heard that classic thrumming “Oo-Oooo-Oooo” that indicates the mourning doves are out in force.

This is a lovely noise.


After about five minutes, you want to throw a brick at it.

While many bird songs are undoubtedly about sex, they don’t really sound like it. A bird singing “I’m-so-sexy!” sounds much like a bird singing “Worms-today! Worms-tomorrow! I-love-worms!” or “Get-the-hell-out-of-my-territory-before-I-line-my-nest-with-your-spleen!” At any given moment, any number of birds could be filling the air with avian pick-up-lines, but as a layperson, I merely smile vaguely out the window at the happy little chirps.*

Doves, however, sound obscene. A dove cooing, even when it is probably nothing more offensive than “This is my bit of seed, go scratch in your own, jerk,” sounds laviscious. It is a low, throbbing, purring kind of voice, a voice better suited to selling a certain variety of pay-by-the-minute phone call than to a relatively inoffensive bird. Just as owls, through no particular fault of their own, have a call like lost souls wandering in the dark, doves, through no particular fault of their own, sound like something that belongs on a porn soundtrack. (The fact that they sometimes sound a little sad only adds realism, as we all suspect that behind the erotic fantasy is usually somebody thinking glumly about whether they’re going to make the car payment. )

It was almost anticlimatic, therefore, to glance out the window and find the big pinkish male dove gettin’ it on with the smaller grayish female dove. Typical. I would have thought they’d have done it earlier in the season, since all the other birds have fledglings already, but perhaps they’re a multiple-nest-a-year species.

One of these days, I’m going to move, and then I’m going to observe my new backyard in this level of detail, and we’ll see if this house really is at the nexus of some kind of animal sex and disfigurement vortex, or if it’s just me…

*I assume whale song is the same way. Since a lot of songs seem to be sung by the males to the females, I occasionally wonder if all those new-age recordings are a cetecean equivalent of an obscene phone call.

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