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.
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:
The nest is constructed over the course of 2-4 days with the male and female mourning doves working together.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
**Please NOTE: Doves are more flighty than other birds and may abandon the eggs or nest if you bother them too much.