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Mourning Dove

(Turtle Dove, Carolina Dove)


Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Zenaidura
Species: macroura

Mourning Dove, R. Bruce Horsfall, A Year with the Birds, Alice E. Ball, 1916
 
R. Bruce Horsfall>
 
 
La. columba pigeon, dove
La. forma form, shape, kind
La. Zenaida for Zenaide
     Laetitia Julie Princess
     Bonaparte, wife of French
     ornithologist Prince Charles
     Bonaparte
Gr. makros long
Gr. oura tail
 

 

 

Light creamy gray underside. Smaller than their pigeon cousins, they look somewhat distorted with their proportionately small head that bobs when walking.

Abundant, numbering in the hundreds of millions, inhabiting woodlands, groves, open areas, farms, towns and cities in North America from southern Canada, throughout the States, Central America to Panama and the Caribbean.
 

    USGS Mourning Dove Map

 
Makes nests out of flimsy piles of loose sticks on horizontal tree branches, stumps, bushes, rocks, on the ground, on building ledges and in platform style nest boxes.

Lays two white eggs (rarely more), which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another two weeks. Regularly raise a second brood and sometimes as many as four in a season.

 
Pairs mate for life and remain solitary, mostly keeping to themselves and their immediate families during breeding and rearing seasons until the more northern located doves gather into small flocks before migrating. 

Funky walkers, their heads bob as they forage on the ground for grass seeds and grain. Flocks frequents roadways, city streets and yards seaching for gravel.

 
 
BI Mourning Dove laf50.jpg (6085 bytes)

Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Fifty Common
Birds of Farm and Orchard, 1913

 
They sing the slow melancholy series of five whoos that give them their name.   Their wings emit a rhythmic whistling in swift flight as fast as 35 miles per hour.

If Mourning Doves can be attracted to a platform, they prefer the wide angle of view from an open nesting platform mounted on a wall.  They frequently live near people and are candidates for platforms located for great views of brood rearing.

Platform plans for Mourning Doves and Robins have an 8" by 8" base, approximately a 8" ceiling, an open front and partially open sides. The gable roof provides extra head room for doves, as they are larger than the other platform nesters.
 

Mount this platform on the side of a garage or shed over looking both open spaces and foliage in your back yard from seven to fourteen feet high. Select a location with protection from predators, elements, access, visibility, and varying sunlight.
 


 

Make sure objects that cats and squirrels can climb do not provide access to the nest. The idea is to simulate a ledge on the face of a cliff. They like to survey a wide berth from their roost.

You are more likely to attract a pair of Robins than Doves, but in some circumstances, in just the right spot, Doves will nest on platforms.  Attract nesting Mourning Doves to a tree by forming an 8" diameter cup from hardware cloth (being careful to bend the end wires back on the underside) and nailing in the fork of tree branches. Robins, Phoebes, Blue Jays, Barn Swallows and Song Sparrows may use this nesting platform.

 

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