Nature

Mourning Doves Are Building A Nest On My Patio

A pair of mourning doves are building a nest at my place. I noticed they’d been hanging around for a few days.

But I was delighted when I saw them bringing yard debris in their beaks last Saturday.

And now I know what happened to my garden gloves. They’ve been part of the architecture of their nest.

Mourning Doves Information:

I started Googling mourning doves so I could figure out how this scenario was going to play out on my patio.

Over 2 to 4 days, the male carries twigs to the female, passing them to her while standing on her back. The female weaves them into a nest about 8 inches across.

They often incubate two eggs at once, laying the eggs within several hours of each other. But they don’t start to incubate the eggs until both are laid to ensure the eggs hatch at the same time.

The gestation period for most doves is 14 to 16 days.

The Nest Is In A Galvanized Container:

This galvanized container nailed to my back wall is what normally holds my small garden tools. But I’ll be finding a new location for them now.

One is already covered with their nest work, so I guess it won’t be getting used for its original purpose for some time.

When I go outside, I can see what I assume is the male in the mornings in the galvanized container.

As soon as I open the door, the other mourning dove flies in to perch on the fence to make sure I’m not going near the nest. So I try not to disturb them.

How It Works:

The female of course lays the eggs, which are usually just two. After the eggs are laid the male dove is more than willing to take his turn at incubating. 

The male incubates from morning to afternoon, and the female the rest of the day and at night. Mourning doves are devoted parents. Nests are very rarely left unattended.

I put water for them on the potting bench just underneath this nesting place. Just in case they get thirsty building their nest and don’t want to veer far from home.

As you see I’m taking my first nesting experience very seriously

About The Mourning Dove Babies:

I read that the young will leave the nest in 12-14 days.

The mourning doves might reuse the same nest for five sets of eggs in a single season. Usually 2 – 3 broods are raised each season. The peak of the breeding season is April – July.

From the time the fledglings hatch, doves will leave the nest at about 11 – 12 days old.

When they begin to self-regulate their body temperature, the parents no longer brood them at night. If a baby is reluctant to leave the nest after 12 days, the parents will often keep watch nearby but refuse to feed it.

Aw, how sad. But then nature has been doing its thing for a very, very long time. And I suppose this is the nature of these birds.

Cultural Signs Of Seeing Mourning Doves:

Many cultures see doves as a sign of peace. In medieval Europe, a dove’s first call of the year indicated good or bad luck.

If the call came from above – prosperity and good luck would follow.

All yesterday afternoon the two mourning doves were absent. I hope they don’t abandon this nest and lay their eggs somewhere else.

It’s in a perfect spot under the eaves where they won’t get wet during a rain shower.

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48 Comments

  1. I was so joying the morning dove nest on my front porch and seeing the 2 babies pop their heads up on my way out the front door in the morning She has made her nest inside a 6′ 5″ wooden painted pirate right outside my front door. The fold in her hat is a perfect little niche for a nest.
    Now that the babies have feathers she’s been sitting at the top of the screen door which is always propped open looking down on the nest, My husband’s retired and has spent a lot of time talking to her and she even let him pet her on the head which surprised me.
    A couple days ago he heard a commotion on the porch and he saw a black crow swoop down and grabbed both babies out of the nest and fly away, it was quite upsetting. She has been sitting on the top of the screen door day and night as if waiting for the babies as though she is sad or maybe she’s going to lay some more eggs. Don’t know what to do to prevent that episode from happening again. Any suggestions?

  2. Ekaterina, I assume you are referring to the release of white “doves” at weddings or some other functions as the damage done by unassuming, uneducated people. Where I live in far north Texas, in the country outside Dallas, you would be laughed at for calling a mourning dove a pigeon! 🙂
    Many people anxiously await dove hunting season that opens on Labor Day, I believe. I don’t hunt, but I don’t judge. have eaten it. I’ve tried lots of exotic meats, including alligator, rattlesnake, frog legs, wild boar, elk, venison, etc. I haven’t eaten pigeon, nor has anyone I know. It’s not a thing.
    In fact, all or most pigeons roost under elevated highways all over this area as far as I know. I’ve never once seen one outside of the asphalt jungle Pigeons appear much larger than doves, at least to me.
    One more thing: any specie’s feces left on a surface will do damage to it, even yours and mine. What do you suggest be done to pigeons for the “damage”?

  3. How exciting to have the Mourning Doves nest on your patio. Every morning when I take my dog for a walk I see and hear the Mourning Doves in the trees around us. I love watching them.
    Cute picture of Charlie and Ivy. They look so sweet together.
    Have a beautiful blessed day

  4. The doves are so pretty! My neighbors have Boston ferns on their porches and both have nests in them. Such a fun experience to watch. Your patio is so pretty and I know it gives you a lot of joy. Charlie and Ivy are just adorable.

    Carol and Molly
    xoxoxo

  5. https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/mourning-dove

    Pigeons and doves are part of the same family Columbidae, and your birds are mourning doves. One way you can tell is because mourning doves have tail feathers that are ragged or not all the same length. Other species of pigeons and doves have tail feathers that form a shape like a paddle.

    To round out their pretty gray outfits, mourning doves have the cutest pink feet, which my husband calls their little pink boots.

    A pair of house finches is raising some babies in a decorative wreath hung on a wall of my mom’s front porch. It’s very cute, but your mourning dove nest looks even more enchanting!

  6. How lovely and exciting to have the doves on your patio. This would give me great pleasure too.
    Lovely picture of Charlie and Ivy.

  7. May I suggest that you do further research on the “dove.”. What you will find is that what you have is actually a pigeon. A dove is simply a type of pigeon, There are two types of pigeons, one is dark and one has white under the wing. The latter is called a white winged pigeon also known as a dove. I only mention this because it is a very common misconception. Sadly, only after the damage is done people are told that they are pigeons. That they have an infestation which can spread diseases, cause destruction to your home and car from the feces,

    1. I fed the birds till I moved here. But I’m so close to restaurants it brings in the rats. However I do have bushes with berries and flowers that they like.

  8. How wonderful that the doves are nesting on your patio! I’d love to have some nest in my back yard. Or any other birds, for that matter. I’ll look forward to your reports on your doves.

    I love petunias, too. It hasn’t been warm enough to plant any here yet, but soon hopefully. I especially love the black ones. I bought some a couple of years ago but haven’t found any since. Maybe this year. I’ve been working outside a little on the warmer days but now we’re in a cold snap again. I can hardly wait to buy some plants to put in.

    Charlie and Ivy seem to have become very comfortable with each other. It’s cute how Ivy’s eye peaks out from behind Charlie’s leg. They look like they are cuddled up really close.

    Thanks for sharing your mourning doves. And have a great week–you and the fur babies.

    1. I’ve found that they have those black petunias early in the year and they get bought up real fast. One lady had a whole shopping cart just full of black petunias. Pretty much bought them out.

  9. What a wonderful thing for them to be there .Happy for u !!!
    Enjoy them and keep everyone posted ! Awesome !!!!

    1. I will! I forgot about them earlier when I was out taking photos. One scared me as it flew rapidly out of the nest because I guess I got too close.

  10. Hope they stay and raise their young! Not only will it be a delight for you to watch, but Ivy will be fascinated too…..through the glass, of course!

    1. Ivy can’t see them. That’s in the middle of the back wall and there are no windows looking out to it. But I think I might get a bird bath and put it closer to the door for her to watch birds.

  11. We have doves, too, but I’ve never seen their nest. My husband put a blue bird house on our fence and we’ve been watching them for a few years now. I put my old coconut liner material out in an old metal basket by our back fence and they pull strands out of that to help make their nest. We have to throw out the nest each time after the babies fly or they won’t start the process again! We put out mealworms in a spray can cap turned upside down and nailed to the top of a fence post. The male tweets for them in the evening when my husband feeds the other birds with sunflower seeds! He is so protective over those worms, though, divebombing other birds who think they can share/steal I never thought I’d get so much pleasure from watching the habits of my birds but I do. We’ve also had hummingbirds now for a couple of weeks so we are really enjoying the view from our back porch. I love seeing all the changes to your patio and reading your stories. You are one of my faves!

    1. I had Eastern Bluebirds in Texas nesting. They were SO beautiful! I miss them and wonder why I don’t see them here in OK because you seem to. I have the right houses that I brought with me.

  12. Lots of doves can be heard in the trees near my home. It is a happy sound to me. I will plant flowers next week. Next year I hope to remember to plant them have the mulch added. ?

  13. How cool! And what great photos! We had some nest on our porch last year. Sadly, one of the babies fell out of the nest. We haven’t seen any this year though. The babies are too cute…what an adorable photo of them! Love and hugs!

  14. I am so envious of your doves nest as we had one “couple “ return year after year to the same nest. Then we had to enclose that part of the barn so their nest was gone. Broke our hearts cause they tried so hard to find any available opening to get back to it. We have had none since. I would be rejoicing if I had them back again so take good care of that special nest as they will bless you each year coming back.

    1. There is one garden tool with the sharp sides facing up next to the nest inside that galvanized piece. I’d like to move it so none would be harmed, but I’m afraid to touch that nest.

      1. We miss the babies so much as they would stand on the ledge looking down at us as we walked in the barn. We grew so attached to each hatching and knowing the parents were returning each time.

  15. How fun to have a nesting pair on your patio! Here are my thoughts regarding sun and shade for plants…if the instructions are for full sun, here in central Texas, partial shade is okay. I also love petunias, but once the real heat of a central Texas summer hits, they don’t do as well as May and June. I read your blog every day and enjoy it so much. I am a retired 75 year old.

  16. Thanks, Brenda. I just planted the lemon balm and moved it to a shady spot. Our river soil is
    so rocky that I must garden in containers. But I like the fact that they can be moved if needed. The mourning doves picked a perfect spot to build their nest.

  17. That is so cool about ‘your’ doves! For the second year in a row, we’ve had a duck build her nest in our front flower bed ~ her babies (all 12 of them!) hatched a week ago today, and within 12 hours, Mom had moved them to the canal that runs through our neighborhood.
    Enjoy!

  18. What a wonderful thing to have birds nesting on your patio. And it is so sweet how Ivy and Charlie have bonded.

  19. The bird’s nest is exciting news! I have mourning doves around but have never seen a nest or young ones.
    I love your petunias and am inspired to plant them in my big green pot (like yours) this year!

  20. How exciting to be able to watch the building of the nest. I so hope that they return soon — maybe they just went on a couple’s vacation before they begin a family!

    Your flowers look so pretty and the patio makes me smile. I know you must be in your element during these gorgeous warm happy days.

    The photo of Charlie and Ivy is just too cute.

      1. Brenda, there is a nest in my spider plant on the screened porch. Must have taken place when the door was open. Now I must keep the door open so the mother can feed her babies. In a previous post, you mentioned lemon balm. I bought a plant and the growing instructions say to plant in the shade. But the internet says full sun. I have mine in a container. Should it be in the sun or shade?

        1. I’d lean more toward shade. I have established lemon balm in the raised garden. But the ones in pots I think like a bit of shade. So a bit of both! Just see how they do I guess and move them if necessary.