Rain Crow

by Jenny Serbes
(Lithia springs, Ga.)

I have lived in northwestern Georgia all

my life and my father and grandfather
referred to the mourning dove as the
"rain crow". Because of their mournful
cry, they believed it was calling for
rain. I would be interested to know if
others are familiar with this term in regard to this beautiful bird.


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Jul 31, 2016
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The truth about rain crows NEW
by: j.c.smith '' Texan''

J.Birwell is right in his article on rain crows. To hear one is easy. To see one is not an easy thing to do.

Jul 31, 2016
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The real truth NEW
by: j.c.smith

the article by J.Birwell is by far the most accurate. A person might hear dozens of rain crow calls before he gets a look at one.

Jul 19, 2016
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Rain crow vs Mourning dove NEW
by: Mray

Live here in central West Virginia and have always been told that the mourning dove was a rain crow but after listening to the call of the yellow billed cuckoo that is the call that we've always heard and said there's a rain crow and it's going to rain. I think over the years that people just thought that it was the mourning dove.

May 10, 2016
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Morning dove NEW
by: Gman

My mother from MN born in 1910 referred to the dove as a rain crow.

Apr 20, 2016
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Rain Crows NEW
by: Raven

Yes, we call them Rain Crows too in Georgia and the old ones call them that.

May 17, 2015
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2 sounds of the rain crow NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm no expert but it is my thinking that the Rain Crow has 2 different calls. One is the one that can be sometimes confused with the Dove and then there is one that sounds like rocks being clicked together and that is how it signifies the coming of rain.

May 06, 2015
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Texas & raincrows NEW
by: Anonymous

My grandmother, born in TX in 1906 was a schoolteacher for half a century and knew all the local birds. She always said the dove was a raincrow because it called before or after a rain. But I never knew it was just a colloquialism, and not an official categorization. Obviously, these days the raincrow is listed as yellow billed cuckoo. Strange.

May 06, 2015
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Texas & raincrows NEW
by: Anonymous

My grandmother, born in TX in 1906 was a schoolteacher for half a century and knew all the local birds. She always said the dove was a raincrow because it called before or after a rain. But I never knew it was just a colloquialism, and not an official categorization. Obviously, these days the raincrow is listed as yellow billed cuckoo. Strange.

Mar 10, 2015
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My "Rain Crow" was a Screech Owl NEW
by: Marizel

I've been looking for a while to find out what kind of bird call I'd heard in the evening when an old timer said "rain crow". It was a low long wavering ululating lost sort of sound.

Finally I just listened to a bunch of online bird calls, and it seems that what I heard was actually a screech owl.

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Screech-Owl/id


Aug 21, 2013
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Rain Crow
by: Dallas Wheat

I grew up in the Mammoth Cave area of Kentucky and always contended that the Rain Crow and the Cooing Dove were one-and-the same. My son would say to me, "Dad, they are two different birds." I could never convince him they were the same; I find out, too late, that he was correct and I was wrong.
I must add, I have been an "outdoors person" all my life and have heard the cooing sound of the Rain Crow many times, but I do recall seeing the bird in the wild.

Jun 21, 2013
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Rain Crow Call
by: Anonymous

My father always identified the kawp,kawp, kawp sound od the Yellow Billed Cuckoo as the rain crow. He always said that it was getting rain when he heard that call. Often we would hear that call when thunder heads were building. I have always associated the call of the Rain Crow with rain probability soon afterward.

Jun 01, 2013
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Rain Crow
by: Anonymous

Being from Texas the Rain crow is the yellow billed cuckoo bird.

May 19, 2013
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raincrowvsdoves
by: WestVirginia

Here in the Eastern Panhandle of W.V I have always been told the rain crow is the same as a dove. In my yard there are always two together. They follow each other around wherever they walk. Sitting on low tree limbs and bushes. I don't see them with their young. Nor have I seen a nest, whether it be on the ground or in the fence rows. I have never seen young ones with the two patents

Oct 22, 2012
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Correct call of the "Rain Crow"
by: Doug

Herb, Thanks for the website suggestion to listen to a recording of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. That is the correct call of the "Rain Crow" as has been handed down to me from several generations of forbears.All were farmers,loggers and outdoor people.If anyone hasn't heard one in the wild,I suggest they listen to the recording. Memorize it and keep your ears open when outdoors. It is a bit fainter than heard in the recording and can be easily missed if your not familiar and listening carefully. They are not a common call and I've only heard it in the summer months. I haven't heard one at all this year.I don't know how common they are in diferrent parts of the country.

Oct 21, 2012
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Mourning Dove / Raincrow /Coe koo
by: Anonymous

know them all my life ;1943 dad 1913 explained their dual purpose / triple know names they will call for rain until it happens ; love their sound and it took a while ; for me to separate the Large looking Doves from the everyday Doves ; both are soooo beautiful ; the Rain Crow looks like a 5 lb dove except for the coloring of the bills ; Everyone should know the two and enjoy them as much as i do ; the first time i saw or notiiced the Cookoo i had spent all day feeding them in the front yard ; and a couple of them were walking down the Street in front of our yard ; I told my wife Look they have eaten soooo much bird seed they are having to walk home ; because they can`t get off the ground ; we have been friends ever since ; the girds and i ; wife and i have been friends for a LONG TIME !

Oct 17, 2012
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Call of the "Rain Crow"
by: Herb Washburn

I also grew up in Kentucky and when we were working in the tobacco fields and heard the Rain Crow I always hoped he was right. The call is totally different from a mourning dove, but it's not surprising that in some areas of the country people started calling the dove a 'rain crow'. If you go to the following Wikipedia site you can hear the call of the yellow billed cuckoo, which is what I remember hearing in Kentucky. Others might not have heard it and just used the mourning dove as the predictor of rain. Here is the address for the 'rain crow' call.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow-billed_Cuckoo

Jun 07, 2012
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Rain Crow
by: rainless in Indiana

I grew up on a farm in Indiana, my parents both born in the 1920s always referred to doves as rain crows when they were doing their mournful ou-ou-ouing because it was said that they were calling for rain. Robins have their sound when they are hoping for rain too. I am listening to a dove outside my window calling for rain right now. It has been so dry here he is probably just a wish-in.

Mar 19, 2012
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Rain Crow
by: Anonymous

My dad was born in West Virginia in 1922. He has often brought my attention to the Rain Crow telling of coming rain. Never seen one....just heard them. When I pointed out the call one time to some friends, the laughed at me for calling it a rain crow....told me it was a mourning dove.

Jan 06, 2012
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Rain Crow
by: Carolyn

I live in Ohio.
My dad was born in 1915 and always referred to the mourning dove as a rain crow.

Aug 14, 2011
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Rain Crow
by: Mark

There is no way a morning dove can make a sound
that travels more than a mile.
The sound of a rain crow is heard on holy days and before rain.
I'm 77 heard this sound all my life, and have looked for the source, never seen it.
Mark

Jul 23, 2011
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Rain Crow vs. Mourning Dove
by: Anonymous

I am 76 years young and my mother always told us about the "rain crow". If she heard one in the neighborhood, she would say, "thank goodness, we'll have rain" and sure enough, it would rain! My daughter (who knows everything) says it is the mourning dove but I don't believe her for one moment. We have mourning doves all the time at our feeder and all I ever hear from them is a coo.
Thanks for giving us this web site. I have thoroughly enjoyed the comments from other readers.

Jul 20, 2011
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Huge Doves /Yellow-billed Cuckoo
by: Anonymous

We have some HUGE Doves that feed at our feeders and love the water sprinklers ; I`ll look closer ; they must be rain crows ""Yellow-billed Cuckoos"" i have never seen a dove this large before hunted them for years ; Gave it up ; they are far to beautiful to do that to ! Have a great day of watching the birds ! These Dove are the size of Healthy Pigeons !

Jul 20, 2011
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Love them Rain Crows ; Yellow-billed Cuckoo
by: Nick

Really love this Mournful sound ; familiar with it since i was very small in eastern Okla. we have them her in Ardmore.OK comforting sound they make ; often wondered why they are always solitary calls never more than one bird at a time ? Rain in our near future ! Yellow-billed Cuckoo ; doing what comes natural .

Jul 16, 2011
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Rain Crow
by: Anonymous

I had never heard of the mourning dove called a "Rain Crow" but I do know this. Farming here in West Virginia the past 6 years I have found it's song a certain call for rain. Not showers or T-storms but a good steady rainfall. I usually hear it about 6 to 12 hours before the event and it's reliable. (And sometimes VERY welcome.)

Jul 12, 2011
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Rain Crow
by: HotRod

I have lived in the Southwestern Virginia hills all my life. My father and my father-in-law were born there in the early 1900's and both called the Mourning Dove when it called the "Rain Crow" because it predicted coming rain. We live in a rural area and just recently obtained a 911 system. The drive which I live on is called "Rain Crow" and I a very proud of name on which I live. By the way we have a flock of "Rain Crows" which I call my 'chickens' and they do predict the rain.

Apr 21, 2011
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Rain Crow
by: W. Mueller

I grew up in the 1920's with my grandparents (b. 1875) in the wooded area south of the Red River in far N. central Texas. I have heard and seen the illusive "rain crow". Many people, who have never actually seen one, mistake a "rain crow" (yellow-billed cuckoo) for a dove, because it's call is somewhat similar, though different, to that of a dove. Both are beautiful birds, and it's certainly worth the time to learn to distinguish and appreciate both of them.

Apr 17, 2011
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rain crow
by: jpickering

I grew up in the Tidewater Region of Virginia. My father, born in Virginia in 1912, always referred to the mourning dove as a rain crow.

Feb 23, 2011
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Rain Crow
by: Darlena

My Mother was born in 1926 in the mountains of East Tennessee. She also referred to the Mouning Dove as a Rain Crow. I'm sure this something she learned from her parents and grandparents. She never believed me when I told her it was a Dove.

Dec 31, 2010
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ghost birds....rain crows
by: J.BIRWELL

I grew up in Texas and have known about the raincrow since childhood.

If your lucky enough to get a glimpse of one it will only be for an instant usually during flight .

I don't know how or why they are so secretive- I've never even seen a dead one.

I heard one during the summer and tried my best to sneak up and get a good look saw it for only a couple of seconds as it flew back into hiding.

Jul 22, 2010
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Rain Crow
by: Doug

I grew up and still live on my Grandfather's farm in the piedmont area of North Carolina.

The Rain Crow that we are familiar with is not the mourning dove but a larger brown bird about half the size of a Crow and seldom seen. It prefers heavy woodland and the call is not the low-high low-low cooing of the dove but a coarser monotone call with a plaintive sound.

It sounds like it is coming from inside a drum and is soft and short,being repeated several times for each call. It always comes from the "woods" and the bird is very seldom seen,just heard.Local as well as Virginia mountain lore handed down to me from parents and grandparents says it portends rain.

Jun 26, 2010
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Rain Crow
by: Anonymous

I never heard of a dove being referred to as a rain crow. The rain crow is a yellow billed cuckoo.
http://www.outdooralabama.com/watchable-wildlife/what/Birds/cuckoos/ybc.cfm

May 18, 2010
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Rain Rrow
by: Joe Crask

I was born and raised in southern Illinois and all my life we have referred to the mournful sounds coming from the mourning dove as the Rain crow. My Grandfather swore by it as a chance of rain.

May 16, 2010
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Rain Crow Calling
by: MaryMargaret

My father was born in central Illinois in 1911 and raised in Kentucky. He had sayings and special names for many things. Raising me in Illinois,he always referred to the Mourning Dove call as the Rain Crow calling. Whenever i hear someone say "they are calling for rain", i picture the Rain Crow and think fondly of Dad!

May 02, 2010
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Rain Crow Memories
by: Anonymous

As a child in the '30s, living on a farm in Nebraska, my Mother identified the bird, with a mournful song, as a Rain Crow. In later years, I'd ask people about the Rain Crow. Puzzled looks. Only once, have I seen it used in a book. Author/humorist, Roger Welsch, referred to the Rain Bird. I continue to hear the "Rain Bird" and memories return. At sometime, I learned that it is the Dove. Glad to read of others who "know" of the Rain Crow.

Apr 30, 2010
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Rain Crow from West Virginia
by: Anonymous

My mother-in-law was born in 1918 and grew up in southern West Virginia also always called the mourning dove a Rain Crow. My husband used to try to tell her it was a dove, but I don't think she really believed him.

Jun 28, 2009
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rain crow
by: Jim N Birdwell

I live in North central Tennessee. My now deceased father who was born on a farm in 1914 also referred to the mournful sound of the mourning dove as the rain crow.

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