ANYONE WHO LIVES near trees, tall shrubs or telephone poles--in other words, most of us--will have a hard time sleeping later than about 6 a.m. this time of year. You lie there in bed, clutching those last, luscious moments of sleep and . . . .
"Who cooks for you!?" is the problem. In what is best described as a gurgling coo (although one irate homeowner calls it the sound of a soprano pig), a persistent noise infiltrates the subconscious. Dreams evaporate. "Goorga Goo."
Muttering, residents peer out the window and see what looks like two small drab pigeons sitting on the telephone lines. Although there are some subtle shades of pinkish-tan on the birds' breasts and hints of blue on their heads, the overall impression is a dull, uniform brown except for one distinctive marking: a large, square patch of white spots on a black background across the back of the neck. These are Chinese spotted doves. They have inhabited the Los Angeles Basin since about 1920.
The larger of the two birds perching on the telephone cable is clearly excited by the smaller. He sidles toward her and, when about a foot away, turns sideways. Then he raises his head, bends his bill downward and bows with a quick, exaggerated lunge at her feet. Again and again he repeats this bobbing ritual of love, and with each bow, a loud, gurgling "Who cooks for you?" fills the neighborhood.