sparse doves in winter
husband stays behind
to stand guard
Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to compose a poem inspired by the name of a sea shell. Yes, there is a sea shell called “sparse dove,” and that made me think of the sparse population of mourning doves during our frigid winter. In the fall, mourning doves begin to migrate: first the young birds born that spring/summer, then the adult females, then the males. However, some males choose to stay behind to protect their territory in order to re-establish nests the following spring in the same area. I admire their bravery; they stay in the colder climate despite the shrinking food sources and the possibility of frostbitten toes. This is because the female chose the nesting spot during courtship. Mourning doves are monogamous, so the brave male, like any good husband, will try to give her what she wants!
I’m also fond of the male mourning dove’s attitude toward equal parenting. He forages for nest-building supplies and brings them to the female, once she has chosen the spot. She then weaves the twigs into a loose circle around herself. The partnership is not consummated until the nest is built. The parents share brooding responsibilities equally, and once the newborns arrive, both mother and father produce crop milk and share feeding responsibilities.
Finally, there is no more endearing trait of the male mourning dove than his call, a yearning, melancholy cooing sound that is the reason for the species’ name. I love a man who sings to me. I really do.