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Baby mourning doves napping in their nest

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 at 5:57 am in Babies, Mourning dove.

Baby doves in nest. Photo by Mary Jo, Martinez, CA
1dove babies mary jo bates

Here is a pic of nesting baby mourning doves in a basket on the fence by my front door.  They hatched over the weekend and even though their eyes aren’t open yet, they are becoming really active.  I was concerned people coming over would scare the parents (I don’t have a back door to use), but as long as I open the door slowly they just stare and don’t move.  Mom/Dad leave the nest for a few minutes late afternoons, so took some pics and wanted to share.  Cute aren’t they.
Mary Jo, Martinez, California

Mary Jo:
Dove parents usually stay pretty calm if you move slowly when you pass by close to their nest. They construct their nests near us humans because our proximity helps to keep scrub jays and other predators away from their nest (and babies!). They may not be the best nest builders in the world, but they appear to be pretty smart, otherwise!

The worst mourning dove nest I EVER saw was one piece of straw on the flat top of a fence post. When mama dove laid her egg there, it rolled off. /Gary

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8 Responses to “Baby mourning doves napping in their nest”

  1. Glenda Leatherman Says:

    Gary, I had a similar experience. My worst mourning dove nest was outside my window on the third floor at work. They kept bringing a couple little sticks, she’d lay an egg, and it would immediately roll off. Plus, the window was facing south with no shade! They did this several times, then finally gave up. I’m sure they went on to a successful parenting career elsewhere.

  2. Gayle Warrington Says:

    Our mourning doves build pathetic nest attempts right in the hot sun in full view of predators. This year the twigs were on a flat light fixture. I found the cracked egg on the ground. But interesting that you said they build near people because of the jays. They’re always near our front door. Why don’t they use bushes which might support their twigs and hide them?

    Two beautiful golden orioles & a drab female friend arrived at our hummingbird feeder 4/18. They usually come twice a year and stay for several weeks.

    When is snake season for babies? Last year I was unnerved by several snakes while walking our dog in open space areas with sidewalks. One very large one spanned the whole walkway width. There were 5-6 dead 6-7″ snakes which had been hit by a car. The same thing happened a few weeks later. Don’t know how to discern a rattler. I’d appreciate a heads up. Thanks. LOVE YOUR COLUMNS.

  3. Gary Bogue Says:

    Gayle: Mourning doves are just the worst nest-builders in the bird world. Go figure (or ask Mother Nature!).

    Re snake season: they start coming out in spring as soon as days and nights start getting warm. Rattlesnakes have rattles on the ends of their tails. The harmless snakes just have pointy tails. Go on the Interned to and do a search for “pictures of rattlesnakes.” Then you can see what they look like. /Gary

  4. Annette Says:

    Aren’t you lucky!
    I just went out outside to check on the doves that were nesting on my arbor and discovered that something took out the two little ones over night and killed them.
    I first found the nest a few weeks ago when I attempted to cut the vine that’s covering the arbor, when suddenly a dove flew out from within – there was a nest with two eggs in it.
    It had become somewhat of a routine to check on them in the mornings. This morning was very sad. One baby is just gone, the other torn apart on the ground.
    Yes, it rained last night and I suspected they’d fallen out of the nest and got killed by a cat. But no, after inspecting the arbor, I found torn out baby feathers between the twigs. So I suspect it was either a raccoon or a predatory bird. I honestly feel like crying!!!!

  5. Gary Bogue Says:

    Annette: If it happened at night, I suspect a mammal of some kind. Maybe a raccoon, although they are so big, I’d think a raccoon would also have torn down the nest. Could also have been roof rats. /Gary

  6. Deborah Says:

    In early March, a pair of mourning doves built a nest in a hanging planter on our balcony. We were lucky enough to see the entire cycle from eggs to fledglings. The same dove couple immediately produced another set of chicks, but sadly, these two were taken by what I am assuming were crows, two days apart. The day the first one was gone, we (and the parent doves) found the other baby on the balcony floor under a raised planter box. They guarded it and fed it most of the day. At one point, Mama bird flew off and left Dad bird to watch the surviving chick. Later, Dad bird flew up to the top of a fence that is closer to the original nest. I put on some latex gloves and was able to pick the chick up and put it back in the nest, where Dad bird immediately hopped in and began feeding it again. We thought all was well until the next morning, when the nest was again empty. I am assuming it was crows that got them, as we have many around here. The parent birds hung around that day and made all the signs of mating again, but then took off and have not been seen in 3 or 4 days now.

    I am wondering if they will come back or not. I’ve read that some mourning doves will use the same nest year after year, but I fear these two somehow felt this nest is compromised now, since their last 2 babies were apparently taken by predators.

    I really miss them! It was so sweet to see them everyday, and they were quite tame around us. I had the opportunity to take many pictures of both sets of chicks throughout their lives.

  7. Sandra Says:

    Babies on ground now out of nest yesterday
    Mom around.
    How long will she stay near and help feed

  8. Deborah Says:

    The mourning doves that had been using a hanging plant on our balcony for a nest have now abandoned their eggs. As I mentioned before, their first chicks were raised successfully, 2nd set was killed by (I’m assuming) crows. I was surprised when they came back and had a third set of eggs, but crows were continually threatening the nest and scaring the female dove into abandoning the nest. The male dove made an effort to sit the eggs and woo the female back, but they both gave up. One egg had been destroyed, and I removed it from the nest. They sat the 2nd egg for one more day before leaving it altogether. It has now been three days, no sign of the doves, and ironically, no crows either! I know that egg will not hatch, but am wondering if I should just leave it there (after all, the crows seemed very interested at one time), or if I should remove it as well in hopes that some other bird(s) will move into the nest.

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