I grew up in a family who loved birds. We enjoyed feeding them and observing them. When I became a Believer I began to truly marvel at how God created so many kinds of birds. It is really awesome when you contemplate these things.
One of my favorite birds since childhood has been the Mourning Dove. Years ago, after I met my husband who loves military aircraft, I surprised him when I likened the Mourning Dove to a World War 2 B-17 Bomber. There is just something about the Dove; how it flys in for a landing, just how it sits around or waddles about. Just thinking of all of this makes me smile.
This autumn I noticed only one Dove at a time at our feeder. It became a pattern to only see one; every time, just one. I did not begin to see more than one at a time until mid-January. Then that sinking feeling came over me and I realized things have definitely changed.
Our state has had a controversy for years about people wanting to be able to hunt the Mourning Dove. I think this law passed for this last year's hunting season. I suppose I knew it was inevitable, so the "sting" was lessened - but not my sadness for the seemingly needless loss of beauty.
Across our state you can now lay bait to hunt these beautiful birds from one half hour before sunrise until sunset, from September 1 through November 9, with your daily limit of only 15 birds.
I suppose you would need that many Mourning Doves to feed a family of four for one meal. Sorry, not facts, just sarcasm.
I know the "powers that be" study all of this for every animal and bird that is to be hunted so they have enough for years to come. As for the Mourning Dove, I understand people love the challenge of hunting~~~even for a little bird that pretty much just sits there as an easy target - especially when food is laid out for it. People probably think that doves really taste good and I am okay with that. It is just difficult for me to know that a beautiful bird at my feeder is on the hunted list.
Don't get me wrong. I am not complaining about hunting or guns or hunters. I think all of that is fine. I'm just a city girl who likes to purchase her birds at the meat counter of Fareway, and so all of this makes me completely look forward to glory where the lion will lay down with the lamb and the birds of the air just proclaim the work of His hands.
So please don't tell me you love to hunt my beautiful, bomber bird. And if you are having us over for dinner serving Mourning Dove---I think I'll pass. Meanwhile, it is SANCTUARY* for all doves in my yard!
*Sanctuary! Charles Laughton in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1939