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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Mourning Doves are vigilant parents – baby, mourning dove feeding – Part 2

The mourning dove babies are six days old.  I have been blessed to watch the dove parents safeguard and feed their hatchlings.  Think me silly or emotional?  Doesn’t matter.  If all human moms and dads were as attentive to their young as mourning doves, this world would be a better place.  With all due respect to the mourning doves, I will give short recaps of the hatchlings days.

Eyes still shut unaware of a new life…  See previous post, below, of newborn dove babies.

http://tjsgarden.com/2012/08/05/mourning-doves-eggs-hatching-baby-chicks-incubation-feeding/

hanging planter as dove nest
doves nest in the hanging planter

A male and a female mourning dove, turtle dove, found love in southern Arizona.  Their courtship includes the paired doves grooming each other’s feathers.  Later, the male takes his mate to potential locations for a nest.

Arizona sun can be very hot but no worries, the female Mourning Dove chooses the best nest site.  The male dove travels about, gathering material like twigs & grass to bring to the female for building the nest.

Our female mourning dove chose the top hanging basket on our front porch to lay her 2 white eggs.

Both parents incubate and nurse their squabs, nestlings.  The mom and dad take turns so perfectly as if to synchronize their watches.

new born baby doves
baby mourning doves

This new life of four days;  knowing nothing of this earth. Brother where are we?  What do we do?

Sister, just be.  Just be.  “Love will bring us health allowing us to grow and become strong.”

No worries sister, love is coming.

mourning dove feeding babies
daddy dove taking the day shift in the nest

I took the above picture through a window because I do not want to do anything that will scare the dove parents.  Mourning doves will abandon a nest and babies is they feel threatened.

Daddy mourning dove arrives in the early morning to relieve mom and take the day shift.  The male dove arrives approximately 7am and does the later switch with mom about 5pm.

Mourning Doves eat mostly seeds, but the young are fed crop milk from their parents.

What is the food the female dove feeds to her babies?  Mourning dove birds have an extra lining, called a crop or croup,  that is near the throat.  The dove’s food is temporarily stored in the crop before digestion.

In Mourning Doves the secretion in the lining of the crop produces crop milk that is regurgitated for the young doves.

mom mourning dove
female mourning dove watching her nest

While dad is babysitting the two youngsters and tidying up the nest, mom keeps a watchful eye across the garden.

Mrs. Mourning Dove tries several locations in the yard until she finds the perfect area to have full view of her cherished family.

A male white winged dove landed on the ground and the female mourning dove turned into SUPER MOM.  In a split second and without fear she flew down to defend her territory.

Female Mourning Doves are much smaller than White Winged Doves especially the male dove birds.  I let the dogs out to scare the intruder away.  The mourning doves and our dogs seem to have a mutual respect for one another.

mourning doves 4 days old
dove hatchlings in their nest

One of the squabs, dove babies, is bigger and more alert.  Hopefully it is a male, female difference?   I yearn for these young mourning doves to be healthy and strong enough to survive.   These newborns deserve an opportunity to experience their life and God’s creation.  xxoo

Part 3 is in the making…..   stay tuned!!!