Swimming Doves

Saw the strangest thing this morning in the pond outside my office at home.

Swimming Doves, October 2010

The pond’s a round metal stock tank Lissa got me for my 40th birthday. It’s popular with the birds, but never like what I saw this morning – swimming white-winged doves. The picture’s not great. I watched ’em for a while, but then when I went in the other room to get the camera to capture their strange ¬†behavior for posterity, they largely stopped. Go figure.

I’ve had doves forever in the yard. They’re a common desert bird, growing more common in recent years. They sit on the power lines in the backyard, and frequently come down to drink. But swim? Never seen it.

There were half a dozen or so on the edge of the pond, taking turns jumping in a sort of paddling clumsily across, climbing up on the other side. One kind of floated, duck-like, on the pond for a few minutes. The show lasted probably less than five minutes, and then it was over.


  1. I tried Googling ‘doves swim’ to see if there was anything about them swimming. The only thing that came up that was even remotely related to the search was – your blog post!

  2. I’m guessing the doves were bathing, based on years of watching our own late lamented pond which we had to leave behind in Atlanta when we moved back to the NW.

    I can’t tell from the picture if there’s already such a feature, but if there’s not you might think about putting a platform of some kind in the pond or hung off the edge, allowing birds some support while they splash around.

    In our case I installed an arrangement of rock slabs perched on a support made of up-ended cinder blocks (saves on expensive rock), configured so that some of the slabs were shallowly covered with water even as the water level varied w/rainfall etc. The feature became a regular stop for myriads of neighborhood birds.

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