Not too long ago, a curious trend swept across the internet. People were going on about how a single sound was somehow triggering a wave of nostalgia for them and transporting them back to the simple days of their childhoods. This was particularly resonating with '90s kids.

Nostalgia triggers like this are often hard to explain. Why would a sound evoke memories in a large group of people? Was it a popular TV theme song? The "mooo!" on the Fisher-Price barn? Nope. It was a bird.

Say Hello to the Nostalgic Bird Call of the Mourning Dove

The somewhat haunting "woo-woo" call of the mourning dove has struck a chord with many, becoming a viral sensation on Instagram and TikTok and even inspiring threads on Reddit as people try to figure it out. It's pretty weird for a pretty shy bird to get this much attention.

Let's give it a listen. Did it trigger a flood of childhood nostalgia?

Comments on a Reddit thread titled "Why are mourning doves the 'childhood bird'?" in the (oddly) /Teenagers subreddit offer intriguing insights.

One user remarked:

I love listening to their calls tbh, I never paid attention to it as a child...

Another Redditor shared:

I remember spending so. much. time. outside as a kid, and particularly in the summers, hearing that bird song was just always there.

These comments capture how the mourning dove's call embodies childhood memories for many people.

Mourning Dove and Childhood
Getty Images

 Why Does This Bird Trigger Nostalgia in So Many People?

There are a few things that we can look at that may provide some clues.


For an under-the-radar bird like the mourning dove, it actually has an enormous range, taking up residence in all of the lower 48 states. In fact, it is one of the most common birds in America, with an estimated population of 350 million. This would explain the far-reaching familiarity with the bird's calls.

The Unique Call:

While the chirps, squeaks, and whistles of common birds like cardinals and chickadees blend into the symphony of bird calls in the average backyard, the mourning dove's "woo-woo" stands out.

They Aren't Scared of You:

Mourning doves are generally unbothered by humans, so they tend to stay closer to our homes.

Two-for-One Deal:

Mourning doves are monogamous and live their lives as a pair, so when there's one, there's usually the other one close by.

All About Timing:

This theory helps us understand the nostalgia part of the story. Mourning doves tend to be more vocal in the morning and at dusk. You might recall those first days of summer break when you laid in bed with almost no responsibilities and a day of fun ahead. You heard the doves' calls. Then, when you were heading to bed, tired from a day of fun, you heard the doves again.

One might say that the sound of a mourning dove is a reminder of the days when your biggest concern was whether to ride your bike or read some comics. In our busy adult lives, in a much more complicated world, that sounds pretty great.

Enjoying this trip down memory lane? Keep scrolling to see some other things that will make you nostalgic for days gone by.

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