Dainty Diamond Doves

 

 

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Wild Doves in Winter

 

If you live in the northern part of the country which has harsh winters, please don't forget the wild mourning doves in winter. They desperately need food and water when their areas freeze over. They are the first birds to arrive at our feeding area on winter mornings. A good "breakfast" after a cold night will give them the energy they need to seek more food during the day and find enough to allow them to survive another cold night.
 
With a few inexpensive generic (non-brandname) grocery items like a large tub of Crisco, a large container of peanut butter and a large bag of cornmeal and you have the basis for quite a few wonderful meals for your outside birds during the winter. Add some form of sugar (white, brown, dark Karo syrup or molasses) and some bird seed and then look in your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer for more things to add, such as:
 
Stale crackers, cookies, corn chips, bread, doughnuts, cake, breadcrumbs, bread crusts, wheat flour, rye flour, cereal, nuts, cooked rice. And if you have some old cans of whole corn or creamed corn, toss one or two in as well.
 
Mix everything to a crumbly texture. I leave it out overnight in the kitchen so that it "dries out" a bit more and then take it outside for the birds as soon as it's light in the morning.
 
I shovel the snow from an area in our paved driveway - and scatter the mixture over a good distance, so that the bluejays and squirrels won't hog it all and eat it before the smaller birds like Snowbirds, or shyer birds like Mourning Doves, have a chance to eat.
 
Birds, and especially doves, NEED water in the winter. The best and cheapest "water dishes" I have found are the bottoms (or sides) of plastic milk or water bottles. They are shallow enough for the birds to drink from comfortably, and when the water in them freezes to ice, a simple bend will pop the ice out and you can put more water in.

Be kind and thoughtful of these lovely, gentle birds whose soft cooing and gentle presence bring us pleasure and remind us of the importance of "peace" and "hope."