This week we have a common bird and an uncommon bird for you.

The Mourning Dove is a very common bird to be found in Rio Rancho. I remember the first time I heard a Mourning Dove, because I was convinced it was an owl – since I didn’t know the difference in their sounds. The Mourning Dove’s coo sounds a little bit like a hoot. It’s a soft and gentle sound.

These birds look fairly plain, with a brownish-gray body and black spots along the wings. The male can be distinguished from the female by the slightly pink hue on their chest.

These birds eat seeds, and will perch precariously on hanging feeders, but really prefer to forage on the ground underneath these types of feeders.

One of my favorite things about these birds is their nesting behavior. The male, being ever a gentleman, will lead the female to several nesting sites, but will allow her to choose the location. They will build a platform of twig s and will lay two plain, white eggs, which hatch within about 14 days.

The other bird this week was a first-time sighting for me (aka a “lifer”).

The Calliope (call-EYE-uh-pee) Hummingbird is common during their migration, however I hadn’t ever seen one in my yard until just the last week!

These Hummingbirds are the smallest bird in North America at only three inches long and a tenth of an ounce in weight. Despite their tiny size, they migrate all the way from Canada to the southern end of Mexico!

The Calliope Hummingbird prefers nectar from flowers, but will feed from a feeder as well. They will also eat bugs on occasion.

The most remarkable feature of this Hummingbird is their gorget (throat area) coloring. In one light the gorget will appear dull and brown, but in another it will turn into a vibrant magenta. They’re a joy to watch as they feed on flowers in the yard.

 

Please share your bird photos with the Observer. Send them to mhelean@rrobserver.com