Mourning Doves Are People, Too

Mourning Doves Are People, Too

Mourning Doves Are People, Too is my comic journal about encountering the birds in my condominium courtyard in Los Angeles in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.

A mourning dove (OG) started to visit and gave me the idea of offering her a small plate of bird food. She stayed for hours in the courtyard daily while I worked at my kitchen table. As we spent time together, we developed some trust in each other. I created a one-page comic whenever I was inspired. One year later, I had pages of comics and realized how a whole new world had opened up when the world I knew before the pandemic had closed up on me.

Creating these pages and posting on Instagram during the pandemic really helped me to keep my sanity, but I didn’t think about creating a book with them. (As journal entries, they were random and personal.) But learning more about the birds changed my mind. I MUST share my experience with these birds.

Here, I want to share what I learned.

I didn’t know much about mourning doves, so I looked them up.

According to Wikipedia, mourning doves are one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds. They are also “…a popular gamebird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S. for sport and meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure is due to its prolific breeding…”

When I read this description, it was oddly familiar to me. I remembered another bird I had looked up previously. They were passenger pigeons.

I heard about passenger pigeons for the first time while tabling my first pigeon comic in Toronto in 2022. One lady asked if I knew about passenger pigeons who went extinct one hundred years ago. I was intrigued, so I looked them up.

According to Wikipedia, “Passenger pigeons were once the most abundant bird in North America, numbering around 3-5 billion. They suffered a slow decline between 1800 and 1870, followed by a rapid decline over the next twenty years.

“Several factors contributed to the birds' decline, such as deforestation, which destroyed their habitat, and the shrinking of the breeding populations. However, hunting on a massive scale for many decades eventually killed them all. The last wild bird was shot in 1901, and the last captive bird died in a zoo in 1914.“

I felt sad that we humans caused this bird species to become extinct. I asked myself, how could we stop something like this from happening again? I couldn’t think of an answer. I felt helpless.

The answer came to me when I connected mourning doves to passenger pigeons.

My answer was for us to get to know them more personally. I realized this is what I experienced firsthand and created comics about them!

Mourning Doves

I was initially curious about the birds visiting my courtyard but was a little afraid of them. They were something unknown. But after days went by, I started to understand how they behave. Then, I found myself caring about OG so deeply. I’ve come to consider them as my neighbors. If they are my neighbors, how can I let them become extinct?

So this is how Mourning Doves Are People, Too came about. I would be thrilled if my experiences inspire you to see them and other birds as your neighbors.

MICE Mini-Grant Awardee

*** A 2022 MICE Mini-Grant Winner ***

MICE (Massachusetts Independent Comic Expo) supports self-published comics by awarding MICE Mini-Grants to independent creators. The MICE Mini-Grant program showcases some of the most exciting and original independent comics of the year.