About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to Attract Mourning Doves

I have a Morning Dove that stops by my yard for a drink from my bird bath every evening of every other day when ever he or she is in the area. I would love to entice it to stop in and stay around a little longer... What must I do to encourage it to visit and stay awhile.

The Mourning Dove's large size and gentle "coo-ah, coo, coo, coo" vocalization makes it one of the most recognizable birds in the backyard. It’s unusual to see only one Mourning Dove though. They usually have a mate with them and in the fall they can gather in large numbers as they migrate south.

Water from a birdbath is a good way attract birds, as well as running streams or ponds. You are also likely to get more birds if you have trees, and shrubs for cover. In my yard doves are very popular dinner choice for the hawks. Pine trees can provide shelter, nesting sites, and food.

Mourning doves are not picky eaters but to feed comfortably, their large size requires a large perching area. Ground feeders or tray feeders allow lots of birds to feed. They eat a variety of seeds, insects, and berries. Any bird seed blend with a lot of sunflower seeds would be a good choice.

After they feed, swallowing lots of seeds and storing them in an enlargement of the esophagus called the crop; they fly to a safe perch. They like to gather every evening on our power lines to coo and digest their meal.

I hope that helps, Sarah
Read more at: http://ning.it/9kXDYw

Thank you so much for the information and the link on Morning Doves...Now I know how to make my yard a little more Dove friendly and the difference between the male and female.


Joy K. said...

Wouldn't you know it: I'm normally surrounded by mourning doves, but now that I'm reading your link and trying to learn male vs. female, they've all disappeared and I've got no one to practice on.

Vetsy said...

Sarah and Joy... The exact same thing has happened to me..

I've been waiting for these Doves to appear all day so that I too' may learn the difference between the male & female.

I sat outdoors hidden where it/they could not see me near the bird bath because it likes to come in the evening for a drink, but it was a no show..

Never the less.. Thank you Sarah for the information and link..I have learned a lot more about doves...

Thank you.. Vetsy

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

I like the baby doves. They look like the parents except for a little white at the end of each feather.

I was watching one last night practicing his shouldering technique. This is where he pushes his wing out to shove other birds and seed eaters away from his feeding area; only no one was around. But he'll be ready when the time comes to push a pesistant chipmunk away from his seed pile.


Anonymous said...

I have a nest on my magnolia tree she's a mourning dove has 3 eggs the bad thing about it I belive is very low i'm only 5'2 and I can see the eggs when she fly's away should I place a bird house higher we have cat's running around from time to time I'm afraid they can get to her nest very easily?

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Once a bird has chosen her nesting site, it’s best to leave her alone. They will learn through trial and error about how and where to build nests. If this particular site doesn’t work out for her, she will move on to a new location.

Doves are known for their inappropriate nesting sites. Their nest is usually a fragile, shallow platform of twigs. They will nest on the branch of a shrub, tree or even sometimes on the ground. They do not nest in bird houses and so I do not recommend placing a house above the nest.

An interesting fact about the dove nest building process is that the male bird collects the sticks and passes them to the female to weave into a nest while standing on her back. Once she lays her eggs, the pair rarely leaves the nest unattended. The male usually incubates from mid-morning until late afternoon, and the female sits the rest of the day and night.

Doves, like a lot of birds, rely on camouflage to protect them from predators’ attacks. Sometimes they remain still until danger pass or they may leave the nest as danger approaches, to lure the predator away.

When they are not nesting they generally eat enough to fill their bi-lobed crops and then fly back to digest. The bird's crop is a large sac at the bottom of the esophagus. In some warmer areas the Mourning Doves nest almost year round because they feed their young “crop milk,” a fluid from the lining the crop. The parents regurgitate the "milk" directly into the hatchling's mouth and throat.

Mourning Doves can be found throughout most of North America and are considered among the top ten most abundant birds in the United States. While the average longevity for a typical adult is only about 1.5 years, the oldest known free-living Mourning Dove, as proven by bird banding research, was more than 31 years old. This is the longest life-span ever recorded for any terrestrial bird found in North America.

Anonymous said...

I have found that mourning doves like cracked corn.

Anonymous said...

will doves see the food in the grove of trees?