Bird behavior

Posted: December 3rd, 2008 under Wildlife.

Doves, to some people, symbolize peace. Those people have never watched doves–especially white-winged doves–around other birds. Doves have a habit of “armpitting” other birds (and sometimes one another.) Somewhere in my files I have a photograph of a white-winged dove armpitting a cardinal who dared to land on the same branch.

What’s arm-pitting? The dove showing dominance lifts the wing on the side where the other bird is–the higher the lift, the more annoyed the dominant dove is–and reveals what would be, in a person, the armpit. I’ve seen doves stick the armpitting wing straight up, the wingtip high above the bird, but also lift it less than that.

I’ve seen Inca, ground, and mourning doves “armpit” as well as white-wings. I haven’t seen other species do it (they may–I just haven’t seen it.) Sparrows showing dominance hop towards the other bird, and peck. Mockingbirds extend both wings out a little sideways (not up) and peck. Cardinals threaten with body posture and extended beak.

Armpitting doves look silly while doing it–that one wing stuck up high, while the rest of the bird appears to be calm and composed.

1 Comment »

  • Comment by elizabeth — December 10, 2008 @ 11:31 am


    I didn’t know that about Jackson. And no one would’ve called *him* a dove…

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