The Life Cycle of Doves Baby Bird

The Ultimate Guide to Mourning Dove Eggs and Baby Mourning Doves

Baby mourning doves, also known as squabs, are a common sight in many urban and suburban areas. These young birds are distinguishable by their plump bodies, soft gray feathers, and large dark eyes. Mourning dove parents care for their offspring with great dedication, making them a fascinating subject for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

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Living exclusively in the Americas, mourning doves are a fascinating part of the extensive Columbidae family, which also includes pigeons. Much like their pigeon and dove counterparts, these doves are incredibly successful and rank among the most abundant birds in North America.

Growth and Development of Dove Chicks

Although spotting mourning doves is a regular occurrence, their adorable offspring often stay hidden from plain view. Join me on a journey exploring the world of baby mourning doves, featuring numerous delightful pictures along the way!

Mourning doves, scientifically identified as Zenaida macroura, are elegant avian species commonly encountered in diverse habitats throughout North America. These slender, tan-colored doves are recognized by their gentle cooing calls and unique feather markings. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intriguing world of mourning doves, from their nesting habits to the challenges faced by their offspring.

Brief Overview of Mourning Doves

Mourning doves, scientific name Zenaida macroura, stand as avian ambassadors of grace, known for their gentle cooing that echoes through both urban landscapes and rural retreats. These medium-sized, delicate birds boast a soft color palette, with muted grays and subtle pinks adorning their feathers. As we embark on this comprehensive journey, it’s essential to grasp the basics, appreciating the quiet elegance that mourning doves bring to our natural surroundings.

Significance of Studying Baby Mourning Doves

Baby Mourning Doves

Diving into the intricacies of baby mourning doves isn’t merely a bird-watching endeavor. It’s a plunge into the heart of avian life, offering insights into the delicate balance of nature. As we unfold the chapters of their existence, we unravel the interconnected web of relationships, behaviors, and the symbiotic dance between these birds and the world they inhabit.

What are Mourning Doves and Their Nests?

Understanding mourning doves and their habitats

Mourning doves are highly adaptable birds, inhabiting a wide range of environments including urban settings, farmlands, and woodlands. They are often seen perched on telephone wires or foraging on the ground for seeds and grains.

Identifying a mourning dove nest

A mourning dove nest is a simple structure made of twigs and grasses, typically located in trees, shrubs, or even on man-made structures such as window ledges or building eaves. The nests are often flimsy, with the eggs visible from a side opening.

How do mourning doves go about constructing their nests?

Mourning doves construct nests by gathering twigs, grass, and other materials within their immediate vicinity. The male and female doves work together in the nest-building process, with the male collecting materials while the female arranges them.

The Life Cycle of Mourning Doves

Hatching and caring for mourning dove eggs

Mourning doves typically lay two eggs per clutch, which are incubated for approximately two weeks before hatching. The parents take turns incubating the eggs, and once hatched, they feed the crop milk to their nestlings, a highly nutritious secretion produced in their crops.

Development stages of baby mourning doves

Once hatched, the nestlings, also known as squabs, are covered in sparse down and remain in the nest for about two weeks. During this time, they grow rapidly, developing feathers and gaining strength under the constant care of their parents.

At what age do fledgling mourning doves depart from the nest?

The baby mourning doves, also referred to as fledglings, leave the nest about 12-14 days after hatching. They are not able to fly immediately, spending several days on the ground while the parents continue to feed and watch over them.

Feeding Habits of Mourning Doves

The Journey to Independence Fledging and Leaving the Nest

What do parent mourning doves feed their young?

Mourning dove parents feed their young crop milk initially, followed by regurgitated seeds and grains as the nestlings grow. The young doves learn to feed themselves by pecking at the ground for food under the watchful eyes of their parents.

How do baby mourning doves learn to feed themselves?

As fledgling chicks, the baby mourning doves observe and imitate their parents’ feeding behavior, honing their skills in foraging and identifying suitable food sources. This learning process is essential for their survival once they leave the nest.

Typical feeding behaviors of juvenile mourning doves

During their juvenile stages, mourning doves display a range of feeding behaviors, including pecking, searching for food on the ground, and gradually becoming proficient at feeding on their own. Their parents continue to feed and guide them during this critical period.

Challenges Faced by Baby Mourning Doves Parents Feed

Predators and threats to baby mourning doves

Despite the care provided by their parents, baby mourning doves face threats from predators such as cats, snakes, and birds of prey. It is important to create a safe environment around the nest to protect the vulnerable fledglings from harm.

Common health issues among baby mourning doves

Baby mourning doves may encounter health issues such as mite infestations and respiratory infections. Adequate monitoring and prompt intervention can help prevent and address these concerns, ensuring the well-being of the young doves.

How to protect baby mourning doves in urban environments

In urban settings, where baby doves may land on the ground, it is crucial for individuals to be mindful of their presence. Placing a heating pad under a makeshift nest or providing a secure ledge can offer protection and support for the abandoned or fledgling chicks.

Helping Baby Mourning Doves Thrive North American Birds

Tips for creating a welcoming space for mourning doves

Creating a welcoming space for mourning doves involves providing suitable nesting sites and ensuring a constant food and water supply. Strategically placing nesting platforms or providing sheltered areas can encourage doves to build their nests within a safe and hospitable environment.

Assistance for fledgling mourning doves

If fledgling doves are found on the ground, it is essential to offer them support without intervening unnecessarily. Placing them in a elevated spot, such as a back porch or a secure ledge, can protect them from ground-based threats while allowing their parents to continue caring for them.

Ensuring the survival of baby mourning doves beyond the nest

Even after leaving the nest, young mourning doves may require assistance and protection. Providing suitable food sources, such as baby cereal or crushed seeds, can aid their transition to independent feeding. Additionally, creating a safe environment and minimizing disruptions can contribute to their overall well-being and survival. you can visit the official Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s page here.


Q: How can the appearance of mourning dove eggs be described?

A: Mourning dove eggs are white and slightly rounded, similar to the size of a small pigeon egg.

Q: What is the incubation period for mourning dove eggs?

A: Mourning dove eggs typically hatch within 14 to 15 days after they are laid.

Q: What do fledgling mourning doves appear like?

A: Baby mourning doves, also known as squabs, have soft, downy feathers and a pinkish-colored beak.

Q: How much time do fledgling mourning doves remain in the nest?

A: Baby mourning doves usually stay in the nest for about 12 to 14 days before they are old enough to leave and explore the surroundings.

Q: How do mourning doves nourish their offspring?

A: Parent mourning doves feed their young “pigeon milk,” a nutritious substance produced in their crops, which is regurgitated to the babies.

Q: What steps should I take if I come across a baby mourning dove on the ground?

A: If you find a baby mourning dove on the ground, observe from a distance to see if the parents are feeding it. If the parents are present and feeding the baby, it is best to leave it alone as they are still caring for it.

Q: Do mourning doves form lifelong mating bonds?

A: Yes, mourning doves are known to mate for life, forming strong and lasting pair bonds with their mates.

Q: How can I help a baby mourning dove that has been abandoned by its parents?

A: If you encounter a baby mourning dove that seems to have been abandoned, it is recommended to contact a local wildlife rehabilitator or bird rescue for guidance on how to provide the care it needs.

Q: Where are mourning doves commonly found?

A: Mourning doves are one of the most common and widespread birds in North America, often found in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

Q: What is the typical behavior of mourning doves?

A: Mourning doves are known for their gentle cooing sounds, the way they forage for seeds on the ground, and their affectionate courtship displays with their mates.

Alberto Amarilla

Greetings! I’m Alberto Amarilla. I’m a devoted enthusiast of both our avian friends and our beloved pets, and I also happen to serve as the editor for Evidence News. Birds and pets hold a special place in my heart, and my dedication to this category is driven by a desire to deliver top-notch information about these wonderful creatures. As you’re well aware, the world is teeming with a diverse array of bird and pet species. I’m excited to embark on this journey with you, gradually introducing you to these fascinating beings, one by one.

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