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Mourning Dove Nesting Idiosyncracies

Nest-building and chick-feeding are a bit unusual for Mourning Doves.  As to nest construction, the female remains at the nest site while the male dove collects the nesting material (twigs, grasses, pine needles, etc.). He returns to the nest and proceeds to stand on his mate’s back while presenting the material to her and she weaves it into the nest.  

The hatchlings, or squabs, are fed by regurgitation.  For the first four or five days, the squabs insert their bills in each side of either parent’s mouth and drink what is referred to as crop milk, a secretion from the lining of the crops of the parents.  All pigeons and doves produce crop milk for their young.  Seeds are regurgitated in increasing amounts and by the time the squabs fledge, they are essentially seed eaters like their parents. (Note: With a little effort, scruffy feathers of squabs can be seen beneath the breast of this nesting Mourning Dove.)

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7 responses

  1. Susie Peters

    Pige’s brethren and sistren and their habits…but I’ll bet you knew all this:-)) xoxo

    On Fri, Apr 23, 2021 at 8:00 AM Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: ” Nest-building and chick-feeding are a bit unusual > for Mourning Doves. As to nest construction, the female remains at the > nest site while the male dove collects the nesting material (twigs, > grasses, pine needles, etc.). He returns to the nest an” >

    April 23, 2021 at 8:12 am

  2. Susie Peters

    Hi Mary, I mistakenly sent you back your email; it was destined for my friend, Melinda, who has had a Homing Pigeon friend/pet for years. His name is Pige. Hope you’re doing well. Thank you for everything you share with your fans!! 🙏💞

    On Fri, Apr 23, 2021 at 8:00 AM Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: ” Nest-building and chick-feeding are a bit unusual > for Mourning Doves. As to nest construction, the female remains at the > nest site while the male dove collects the nesting material (twigs, > grasses, pine needles, etc.). He returns to the nest an” >

    April 23, 2021 at 8:16 am

  3. Alice

    Just the regular daily routine for a female: multi-tasking: having your mate stand on your back & still be able to weave a descent nest. Sometimes several Mourning doves walk around the yard…they seem so calm.

    April 23, 2021 at 8:33 am

  4. Alice

    …and I just looked up: their clutch size is usually 2 eggs. (Maybe she’s not that good at multi-tasking).

    April 23, 2021 at 9:09 am

  5. Bill on the Hill...

    I look forward to the morning dove’s wake-up calls outside my bedroom window perched on the house’s power line, up here in north central VT, coming soon hopefully…Currently it is cold & all white outside, i.e. 30° earlier this morning…
    Nice pic Mary…
    Bill… :~)

    April 23, 2021 at 9:12 am

  6. Alice

    We just came home & were silently greeted by a Mourning Dove.

    April 23, 2021 at 11:14 am

  7. They seem careful and deliberate in how they behave, and do a very good job too!

    April 23, 2021 at 11:24 pm

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