Description 12" Soft, sandy buff with a long
tapered tail which comes to a point and bordered
with white. Black spots on wings.
The beak is black and the legs are orange.
Adults have black spots on their wings and a slight
iridescence at the nape of the neck. The black eye
is surrounded by a light blue eye-ring. Juveniles
look much like adults, but their plumage is lightly
Habitat Open fields, parks, and lawns with
many trees and shrubs. They adapt well to human
habitation and thrive in grain-producing fields.
Diet Seeds make up 99% of their diet. Mourning
Doves swallow grit to help digest hard seeds and
Nesting Migrants arrive on the breeding
grounds in March or April. The male leads the
female to potential nest sites. When she chooses
one, he brings nest materials and she builds the
nest, a flimsy platform of twigs.
The female lays two 2 white eggs in a loosely
made nest of sticks and twigs placed in low
bushes and tall trees, more rarely on the ground.
Both parents incubate for two weeks.
Both males and females produce in their crops
"pigeon milk," a protein- and fat-rich liquid, which
they feed to their young. After two weeks, the young
leave the nest, although they stay close by and are
fed by the parents for another 1-2 weeks.
In warm climates, the Mourning Dove is a prolific
breeder, producing up to six broods per year, more
broods than any other native North American
Range Breeds from southeastern Alaska,
Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and New
Brunswick southward to Mexico and Panama.
Winters north to northern United States.
This abundant bird has increased with the cutting
of forests and burning off of
grass. The Mourning Dove is common in rural
areas in all parts of the United States, as well as
city parks and, in winter, suburban feeders.
In July and August before migration, they form
post-breeding flocks. Some birds remain year
round over most of their breeding range, but many
move south in the fall, migrating in flocks mostly by
day, and most leave by October.
Voice Low mournful (hence its name) coo-ah,
coo, coo, coo.
Discussion In some states Mourning Doves
are hunted as a game bird while in others it is
protected as a songbird. Its species name,
macroura, is Greek for "long-tailed."
February 2007 Winter seems to be the time these guys show up around the feeder area