I watched as a mourning dove flew in to the bird bath and settled in to drink.
I love to watch these birds. In some ways they seem awkward, yet somehow at the same time there is something quite elegant about them.
Their pointed tails are longer than those of any other doves. These “design features” enable the birds to fly fast. Mourning doves have been clocked at 55 mph.
A mourning dove’s beauty is an understated one: the colors of its feathers ranging through various shades of gray and drab violet, often with a striking splash of turquoise around the eyes.– Jonathan Miles
There among the pepper plant, the tall stalks of the sedum autumn joy and the ginkgo jade tree, more commonly referred to as “Jade”, the bird seemed to have found a place to rest for a bit.
I would look out the patio doors from time to time. It stayed there at least an hour.
The dove is in fact a small pigeon. One difference, however, is that the doves have more pointed tails and move in a more graceful manner.
Recognizing The Gender Of A Mourning Dove:
Males have a bluish tint to their head and with a pinkish bosom while females have a duller pink bosom with a light brown to tan tint on their head.
So this mourning dove at the bird bath looks to be a male.
Juveniles, on the other hand, are dark brown and puffy in appearance.
If you provide water for your backyard birds you may have noticed that your visitors collect a small amount of it in their bills and then tip their heads back to swallow. No so with the mourning dove.
How Mourning Doves Drink Water:
Mourning doves drink by dipping their bills into water and sucking up the liquid.
As a rule, doves require more water than other birds and this ability to sip allows them to swallow more water, and to watch for predators as they drink.
Mourning Dove Diet:
Mourning doves store seeds they collect from the ground in their “crop”, which is part of their esophagus.
Once they’ve filled the crop, they’ll fly to somewhere safe before digesting the seeds.
Doves are primarily seed-eaters, not insect-eaters.
Mourning Dove Sleeping Habit:
When they sleep, their head rests between their shoulders, close to the body.
They do not tuck their heads under their shoulder feathers, like a lot of other birds do.
Mourning Dove Mating:
The cooing call is almost always uttered by the male and is a wooing call, an enticement for a potential mate.
These doves mate for the long run and become very devoted parents.
Mourning Dove Nesting:
The mourning doves build a flimsy assembly of pine needles, twigs, and grass stems. The nests are unlined with little insulation for their young.
Over 2 to 4 days, the male carries twigs to the female, passing them to her while standing on her back. Then the female weaves them into a nest about 8 inches across.
Mourning Doves sometimes reuse their own or other species’ nests.
When they lay eggs, it is almost always just two. (Singletons are rare, as are bigger clutches.) Incubation takes just two weeks.
Males and females work together to feed their new babies something called “crop milk” or “pigeon milk” for the first few days of their life. Rich in protein and fat, it resembles cottage cheese. It is secreted by the adults’ crop lining and is regurgitated to the little ones.
Weaning is fast. By the fourth day of life the diet starts to segue to seeds, and by two weeks, the youngsters are nearly fledged.
Baby mourning doves will first leave the nest at between 11 to 15 days of age, becoming independent after about 30 days.
The mourning dove can raise up to 6 broods in a breeding season.
If the doves survive the first year, which is the hardest due to predators and dove illnesses, mourning doves can live up to five years.
A few random sticks; the nest of a mourning dove. As fragile as peace. – Wayne Sapp