Why do mourning doves only call when they fly?

I’ve been watching a lot of doves lately and noticed that they only call when they fly. Why is that?

Are you sure? Seems like we had them on our patio all the time, making noise…

Whether they fly for 2 seconds or not, they only call when they flap their wings. I’ve never heard them while they are on the ground or perched on a branch.

I have. There is a pair that nests right outside the door of the place where I work, and I’ve heard them cooing and making little noises on the nest.

The one’s around my house don’t.

Their usual

“hooAAHHHH HOOO hooo hoooo”

song is produced when they are perched…I often see them on telephone lines or high tree branches when they are doing it. I think they probably do this song when they are on the ground, too. People who are unfamiliar with the song often mistake it for an owl.

The sound they produce on takeoff is called a wing whistle and I believe the vocal apparatus is not involved at all…it is just air going through the wings. Some birds do use such non-vocal song substitutes in place of songs, though, one prominent example being the thumping of the ruffed grouse.

Nope, I’ve seen 'em perched on rooftops and in trees, cooing without flapping.

Are you referring to the whistle-chirping noise they make when they take off? Because as I understand it, that noise is actually air whistling through their feathers, not a vocal call.

I think you’re mistaking the woosh-woosh sound of their wings in flight for their call. Mourning doves have a beautiful call; one which I can’t possibly describe here.

Mexican doves, by the way, make a clicking sound when they fly. I don’t know of any other bird species that makes such distinctive sounds with their wings or why doves do.

But I see Laughing Lagomorph did a pretty good job of it.

You can hear a .wav file of the mourning dove’s call here, and you can get a .wav file of the “wing-whistle” here (that last link supposedly also has a link to the call, but it appears to be broken).

:smiley: [sup]Sounds like an UL to me, since anyone living in the country would know better.[/sup]