May 15th, 2010


50 more urban species #11: Zenaida dove

A zenaida dove, Zenaida aurita, incubates eggs on a nest on a light fixture on the garage.

Like its close relative the mourning dove, the zenaida dove has no qualms about nesting near human habitation. This bird, common throughout the Caribbean (national bird of Anguilla) carries out much of its activity around people. On our recent stay in Antigua we saw them drinking from a swimming pool, fighting on rooftops, and perched everywhere on eaves, ledges and ornamental plants. They eat seeds and the crumbs of human foods derived from seeds, and occasionally insects. Their cooing song makes for a pleasant morning wake up call.

This dove was named for the wife (and cousin) of naturalist Charles Lucien Bonaparte (both could claim Emperor Napoleon as their uncle). There are six other doves with the Genus name Zenaida. This dove is usually called "turtle dove" on English speaking islands, or sometimes referred to as a "mourning dove." I saw three other dove species on Antigua (though Wikipedia claims there are nine total--more visits needed!): the much smaller ground dove, the larger white-crowned pigeon, and the feral rock pigeon.


Urban Nature Pictures 5/13

Alexis shows what it takes to get the right shot. Maggie, as she often is during Alexis' best photography, at the end of a 6 foot lead.

I can't overstate how nice it is to live in a place where there are public art shows. I really urge anyone who lives in the Boston area to come and see this show. There are 14 pieces; I don't love all of them, but some of them are truly transformative, making you feel like you are in a strange new place.

When I posted a picture of the artist making this piece, someone asked what kind of wood it was. I asked the artist when I saw him the other day, and he said they were various kinds of saplings, chosen for their straightness.

Maggie sits on the bed, worried by a noise outside, and framed by Boston ivy.