But on the coldest morning so far this winter, here were a pair of doves roosting in the Buckeye tree, and waiting their turns at the bird feeders. They were not necessarily a mated pair, since they were a bit antagonistic to one another and maintained their distance rather than roosting together as a mated pair might.
Mourning Doves are probably one of the most widely distributed birds in North America, present in every state including Hawaii (introduced there). Typically, Canadian birds migrate south in the winter, but birds in the lower 48 states of the U.S. may be permanent residents, except places like Minnesota where temperatures dip to Canadian levels in the winter.
So what are these birds doing here, especially during the coldest two weeks of the winter so far?
I’m guessing this is a good example of birds sustained by bird feeders in the local vicinity. In addition, the birds wintering far north might not be representative of the breeding populations at all. The Northern Woodlands website suggests that juvenile and female doves are the individuals that migrate and males might remain permanent residents in the far north. This gives them an edge on setting up a breeding territory in the spring — if they can find enough food to sustain them during the winter.