Mourning Doves are building their nest

It is spring and the male mourning dove labors hard to set up his territory.   When this male bird is ready to mate, he circles in a courtship flight and chases other doves from the area he desires to nest.

To attract a female mourning dove, this determined handsome bird perches in an open area and sings a “passionate” coo sound that is louder than his usual call.

difference of male and female doves
Male Mourning Dove

The Coooo bird call is mostly voiced by the male mourning dove and not the female. Once he has charmed a mate, the doves pair for life.

To hear the dove’s coooOOO sound, click on the short YouTube video below:

Doves mate primarily from spring to fall but are able to mate year round and produce several clutches of young.  These love birds are tranquil and elegant. 
doves birds mate
Mourning Doves seem to be the true love birds
  **Unfortunately, the Mourning Dove Nest can hardly be called a “nest” – generally these beautiful birds just throw a few twigs somewhere and begin setting up their flimsy nest.
tan bird with spots
dove nest on our porch

The nest is constructed over the course of 2-4 days with the male and female mourning doves working together.

bird nest with 2 eggs
mourning dove nest with 2 white eggs

With a hanging basket on our porch, it didn’t take long before a couple of mourning doves took up residence.  AKA Turtle Doves have been known to reuse the same nest over and over. Commonly raising 2 – 3 broods per season.  Researchers found that the basics for constructing the bird nest are mainly instinctive, but birds can improve their skills with experience.

flimsy bird nest with twigs and white eggs
when do the 2 dove eggs hatch?

So, you spotted a dove’s nest with two milky white eggs.  When will the dove eggs hatch?  The incubation period for Mourning Dove eggs is 14-15 days. Then another 2 weeks for the squabs to leave the nest.

One white egg is laid in the evening, and the female dove lays the second egg in the morning.

dove bird nest two eggs
Mourning Dove’s Nest with 2 white eggs

The day shift is handled by the male dove and the female incubate during the night shift.  If you do not see the doves change shifts, it can seem that the same dove has been on the nest the entire time. 

***In our experience, we have seen the male and female doves change places around sunrise and sunset.

The dove chick, “hatchling”, squab pictured below is one day old.  Both eyes on the newborn bird are closed.

one day old baby bird
a newborn baby dove is called a squab
two baby birds in a nest
2 to 3 day old dove newborn

Males and female doves work together to feed their newborns crop milk or “pigeon milk” for the first few days of their life. The dove’s Crop Milk is rich in fat and protein.  Adult mourning doves secrete the milk and regurgitate it to their little ones.

The dove parent opens its mouth wide permitting the nestling to stick its head inside to feed on the nutritious food.

mourning dove in the nest
The Male dove daddy caring for his squab

How do you tell if the male or female dove is in the nest?

With a trained eye you will be able to tell the difference.  Male Mourning Doves have a bluish crown and nape, and a rose wash to the throat and breast.  The crown and nape of the female dove is grayish brown, and the throat and breast has a brown or tan wash.

dove nest with 3 birds
female mourning dove with her squabs
Mourning Dove Nestlings will fledge in about 12-14 days. The bird parents continue to care for the dove fledglings for about another 16-20 days.

**Please NOTE:   Doves are more flighty than other birds and may abandon the eggs or nest if you bother them too much.

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The difference between male and female mourning doves – Baby doves 17 days old – Part 4

Now 17 days old.  The mourning dove babies, also called turtle dovesare out of the nest and on their own.  You have journeyed with me and the mourning doves, Jack and Jill, from the egg until today.  Since the day the doves hatched, one was bigger and more alert.  This wide eyed dove is named Jack.  He is a bold, tenacious male mourning dove that was out of the nest in only 11 days, see the photo below.

mourning dove hatchling babies
male & female baby mourning doves – 11 days old

Male mourning doves are bigger than the females.  Jack took his first practice flight to settle on the Mandevilla Trellis.

baby dove just left the nest
our baby mourning dove in the Mandevilla Vine

Jill the female baby dove was smaller and took another 3 days to become strong enough to fly from the nest.  She would perch and at times peek over the nest to watch the activity in the Arizona garden below.

11 day old mourning dove in the nest
baby mourning dove, Jill, in the nest watching her brother

Mom and Dad mourning doves were watchful and on guard in the garden.  Dad did the day shift for the feedings of his baby girl.  Most of the time this little chick was left alone in the nest.   Mom would arrive for the evening to stay in the nest and keep Jill safe through the night.

adult male mourning dove
adult male mourning dove

Males are bigger than females but their color is very similar.  To tell the difference between male and female mourning doves – look at the father in the photo above. Males have a bluish-grey crown; along with a rose color on the breast. Male mourning doves can have an iridescent patch on the neck area also.  Females have a grayish brown crown and a brownish tan breast area.

male and female morning doves
mourning doves showing love

Jill was sitting on the fence by herself and daddy flew over to greet her with a kiss.  This little mourning dove was having a harder time with flying and was so happy to have her dad nearby.

gambel's quail
a gambel’s quail and young mourning dove

Jill is sharing thistle seed with a Gambel’s Quail.  This 17 day old female mourning dove had a harder time getting out of the nest but she is assertive and makes friends easily!

young male mourning dove
young male mourning dove

Jack in the photo above is 17 days old and a king around the neighborhood.  We live in the middle of the southern Arizona desert and I wanted to make sure these young mourning doves had plenty of seed to continually grow strong; therefore I put feeders and seed all over our property!  Jack and Jill share visits with us from sunrise to sunset.

At night the mourning doves find a safe place to roost like a mesquite tree or rooftop and go to sleep.

girl and boy adult mourning dove
difference between male and female mourning doves

Mom and dad (who is the one standing tall), are in the photo above.  This is a perfect picture to see the bluish color on the adult male mourning dove’s head.

I have observed mourning doves everyday for almost 2 months; the more I learn, it is clear that these not-so common mourning doves have their own unique personalities and a true caring for one another.

Baby mourning doves update – squabs are 10 days old – Part 3

The mourning dove hatchlings, squabs are 10 days old.  They are becoming Fledge,  Fledge is the stage that these young doves develop feathers and wing muscles that are sufficient for flight. It takes about 14 days for the mourning doves to fly and leave the nest. The parents will still care for the young squabs for 25-27 days of age where they will be left to be on their own.

mourning dove babies
mourning dove squabs, hatchlings exercising

The mom and dad mourning doves have started leaving the babies alone for several hours at a time.  This dove behavior is to encourage the babies to start learning balance and exercising.  The mourning dove squabs, babies, will be flying out of the nest pretty soon.

mourning dove babies
mourning dove babies alone in the nest
mourning dove nest
mourning dove daddy still spends time in the nest

The mourning dove parents can only lay beside the baby doves because the 10 day old babies are plenty warm with their own feathers.

part 4 in the making….  final stage coming, I’ll be sad, and happy, to see the hatchlings go

 

Mourning Dove eggs are hatching, dove eggs incubation period, feeding baby doves – Part 1

How long does it take for dove eggs to hatch?  The incubation period for dove eggs is 14-15 days.  Then another 2 weeks for the baby dove chicks to leave the nest.

The dove chicks, hatchlings, squabs pictured below are one day old, both eyes are closed.

baby dove chicks hatched eggs
baby dove squabs in nest, closed eyes

I’m a proud Auntie!  We have been very quiet so as – NOT to startle the mourning dove away from her nest.  Last time these mourning doves made their nest I was too involved and sadly scared them away leaving the eggs in the nest abandoned.  I felt horrible.

baby morning dove nest
newborn doves 1 day old squabs, Turtle Doves
mourning dove hatchlings turtle dove nest
mourning dove hatchlings, opened eyes

The one day dove hatchlings opened their eyes.  The female dove left very early this morning so I was able to snap a couple quick photos before the male dove comes to take the day shift. This bird family will get their privacy and no disturbances from us, so the squabs will be taken care of by mom and dad dove.

squabs in bird nest
baby mourning dove nest

Why do doves abandon their nest? Nest abandonment is very common with Mourning Doves.  If a dove feels any threat from predators whether human or animal, the dove may go elsewhere, abandoning both eggs and babies.

Below is a short video showing how to feed a baby mourning dove that was rescued.  I educated myself and am prepared just in case I have to feed or care for these hatchlings.

If you find an abandoned bird it is best to take it to a wildlife sanctuary. Baby birds can be hand-fed and raised until they can be released back to the wild.

The mourning dove’s nest in the photo is in our Arizona garden.