I spent a while today watching a mourning dove wandering around, picking at twigs. It was quite singleminded at this task, and didn’t pay any attention to my watching from within ten feet or so. It would discard any twigs that were too small or floppy, or that turned out to be roots or otherwise attached to the ground. When it found one it liked, it was usually about as long as its body from beak to tail, and stiff enough not to bend under its own weight. It would hold it and shake it around in it beak a little bit and then, when the twig was apparently adjudged satisfactory, wing up to the tree nearby with it. The tree was some kind of fir, I think – a landscaping tree on the deck at my work in Kendall Square. The dove exhibited an excellent ability to hover as it worked its way into a particular spot in the tree, where it handed off the twigs to another dove. The latter was pretty well obscured by branches, but it looked like it was probably doing the nest-building after the handoff of materials. I assume that he was a man-dove and the other was his lady-love… but this is Massachusetts, so who can say for sure?