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      Nature Report: Dove Season

      The soothing coo of the white-winged dove is the song of the Rio Grande Valley.

      And what a beautiful bird they are with soft brown feathering and rich blue eyeliner highlighting bright brown eyes.

      Every time they coo, they fan their tails revealing the white-tipped underside.

      Their melodious cooing and enthusiastic posturing are springtime rituals throughout the Valley.

      Deep South Texas is home to several species of dove, and the most abundant is the mourning dove. They gather in large numbers at ranch country ponds in the morning and evenings.

      And if you catch one in just the right light, you will see a flash of shimmering iridescent colors on the neck.

      They are trim bodied birds with long tapering tails.

      Although the overall plumage is a soft brown there are black spots on the upper wings of the adults.

      Joining the white-wing and mourning dove in the Valley outdoors is the white-tipped dove.

      This plump dove is slightly larger than a white-wing with a gray-brown back and pale underparts.

      Its rounded tail has white corners hence its name white-tipped dove.

      The large white-tipped dove dwarfs the diminutive ground dove.

      The chunky little ground dove at six inches is the smallest of all our native doves.

      Slightly larger than a sparrow, the ground dove sports a short blackish tail, and like its name implies is primarily terrestrial.

      While the white-wing, mourning dove and white-tipped dove are all fair game, the little ground dove is protected.