Birds of Cape Ann: Mourning Doves and Why Birds Fluff When Cold

Mourning Dove pair in snowPair of Mourning Doves in Pear Tree

While writing this post and listening to recorded songs of Mourning Doves, I was immediately transported to my grandparent’s summer cottage on Cape Cod. Their home was sited on a bluff overlooking Cape Cod Bay. Adjacent to the house was a tumbled and scrubby overgrown field and, only a sort walk down down the lane, the freshwater Hiram Pond. There was no shortage of bunnies and birds, toads and turtles, along with the occasional frog and fox. From a child’s point view, it was pure paradise. Mixed with the sound of the surf, imprinted forever is the familiar song of Mourning Doves cooing at the first light of dawn. For much of the day the nesting doves remained hidden in the tangled undergrowth. Then in the fading rosy light of day’s end, their gentle song was heard again mixed with the laughter of rambunctious family feasts on the screened porch my grandfather had built.

*   *   *

Mourning Doves during the winter months are not calling to their mates but instead are struggling to survive the cold temperatures and sparse supply of food. Our bird feeders are filled often during the week, primarily with safflower seeds. As I have explained in previous posts, squirrels, which can be a real nuisance at feeders, typically are not interested in safflower seeds. Suet and such invites rats, rabbits, and raccoons, which in turn draws coyotes.

Four Mourning Doves  ©Kim Smith 2014Mourning Doves in Pear Tree ~ fluffed and unfluffed doves

Feathers are insulating and by fluffing, the bird traps pockets of air to hold in body heat and keep out the cold. During warm weather, birds press their feathers close to their bodies to eliminate the insulating air pockets to allow heat to escape.

When the bird is incubating eggs, the insulating properties of feathers can be a drawback because the feathers keep some of the bird’s body heat from reaching the eggs. The bird either sheds some its breast feathers naturally or pulls them out to expose bare skin.  The exposed area is called a brood patch.

Read More Here: Feathers

Addendum today ~ So sadly, my husband found beneath our kitchen window this morning a beautiful Mourning Dove. For the past several months we’ve had half a dozen doves, or what looked like three pairs, nestling in the pear trees and at the feeders. Our dead Mourning Dove seemed perfectly intact, except for a few drops of blood on its head. The single greatest threat to songbirds visiting our backyards are collisions with glass.  I never thought of our wind- and weather-worn original-to-the-house 1850s window glass as potentially hazardous. Time to rethink our little backyard sanctuary.

Dead Mourning Dove  ©Kim Smith 2014From Bird Watcher’s Digest, the top ten suggestions for making your windows less deadly for birds: The Top 10 Things You Can Do to Prevent Window Strikes 

Mourning Dove Coo ~

Essex Bird Shop and Pet Supply is an excellent source for bagged safflower seeds.

Mourning Dove puffed feathers ©Kim Smith 2014 copyMourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Great Valentine Art Show at the Gloucester House

The Gloucester House venue for this event was terrific. The staff was so kind and made sure we had coffee, tea, water and treats. Cannot wait to have another show there. Thank you Gloucester House. Even the seals wanted to see the show.

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The Landing @ 7 Central ~ Chelsea Berry: Celebrity Bartender for Pathways for Children.


 This Wednesday, über-musical talent, Chelsea Berry steps behind the bar to bartend for Gloucester’s Pathways for Children from 6 to 8pm.There will be a raffle with 100% of the proceeds going to Pathways. Tickets will be 1 for $10 or 3 for $20 and prizes will include Landing gift certificates, bottles of wine and liquor.Come out and support Chelsea and Pathways for Children!

7 Central Street, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massach

Roasted Tomato Soup



Are you looking for the perfect main course, or side dish to serve to your Valentine this week?  Get closer to their heart with the delicious roasted flavors packed into this simple soup! For Recipe and Photos, click see more Continue reading “Roasted Tomato Soup”

Who Remembers Using One of These?

Warning:  You will be dating yourself!

mimeograph machine

The stencil duplicator or mimeograph machine (often abbreviated to mimeo) is a low-cost printing press that works by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper. The mimeograph process should not be confused with the spirit duplicator process.

Mimeographs, along with spirit duplicators and hectographs, were a common technology in printing small quantities, as in office work, classroom materials, and church bulletins. Early fanzines were printed in this technology, because it was widespread and cheap. In the late 1960s, mimeographs, spirit duplicators, and hectographs began to be gradually displaced by photocopying and offset printing.

When I was in junior high, I worked part-time in the office at Seacraft Industries (my Dad’s scuba diving business) and learned to run that mimeograph machine.  When I was really young (5 or 6), I wrote (actually printed) and published a newspaper called The Neighborhood News which covered local news in the neighborhood like new babies, puppies, someone being sick, getting a new job, or moving, etc.  My Dad would run off copies on this same machine and I would sell them to the neighbors for 5 cents.  My love of writing and sharing information started at a very early age.  This summer Dad came to visit me at the gallery and brought an edition of The Neighborhood News that he had found.  It was still in amazingly good condition.  I don’t know what I did with it.

E.J. Lefavour

Monday February 10th 2014 Cape Ann Forecast..

Marine Forecast
Mon: NW winds 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt. Seas 2 to 3 ft.

Mon Night: NW winds 10 to 15 kt. Seas 2 to 3 ft.

This morning few flurries / clouds then sunny conditions temps 24-31 degrees with north west winds 10-15 mph . Monday Night cold temps crashing into the teens north west winds 10-15mph.. Tuesday Sunny 20’s lower 30’s / Wednesday fair / Thursday watching potential storm and track uncertain as well as mix / rain / snow lines .. Stay tuned …. Thanks For Reading . Have a great Monday .
Peter Lovasco




Community Stuff 2/10/14

Joseph Curley recently presented a $1,000.00 donation from the Cummings Properties Employee Directed Giving Program to the SeniorCare Meals on Wheels Program.  Receiving the check are Scott Trenti, Executive Director of SeniorCare and Linnea Hagberg, Nutrition Program Director.  Last year SeniorCare delivered 131,649 meals to homebound elders and served 39,832 meals at senior dining sites in Beverly, Gloucester, Essex, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, Ipswich, Hamilton, Topsfield and Wenham.  The donation kicks off SeniorCare’s 2014 March for Meals campaign to raise awareness of the need for senior meals.  For more information visit


Hi Joey
I am a GMG fan, and have a big event coming up, but due to my own tech-dummy problem, have not been able to get it on the GMG site.
Can you help me?
Unfortunately, it is coming up soon! (I’m sure you have heard this before)
I am a Co-Chair of  the Gloucester Coalition for the Prevention of Domestic Abuse along with Sunny Robiinson  We have joined the global initiative
ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE 2014 which is a flash-mob and speak-out about violence against women and girls.
Given the brutal headlines in the GDT this past week, we hope that lots of people will show up.
2013 was our first One Billion Rising event, and we were well supported by the community, the city and the police department.
This year, we hope to gather at least 100 people on Main Street!
Our event will be on Friday, February 14th, Valentines Day at 12:30, Cape Ann Savings Bank Park, 101 Main Street
Speakers will include:
-Mayor Carolyn Kirk
-HAWC Executive Director Anthony DiPietro
-YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis representative Sally Struble
-GPD Lt. David Quinn
-Staff from SeniorCare
I will emcee (Nicki Richon-Schoel)
There is great video at , but again- being tech-dumb can’t seem to figure out how to upload onto GMG!

ALSO:  THERE IS ONE REHEARSAL remaining to learn the dance to One Billion Rising.
It will be on Wednesday, Feb 12 at JANINES FITNESS, ROCKPORT.
Really hope you can help put this out to the community, and eternally grateful!
call me 978-853-3350 if need more, or text/email
thanks so much!