At the end of winter the birds separate into male and female groups and dominance within the single sex groups is established. All the boys are attracted to the dominant female as they now mingle only at feeding sites. But the dominant male soon scoops up the dominate female and form a pair bond for the season. They are the first to pair, establish a territory and nest.
During courtships males perform a noisy flight display and then approach the female with a bow and a coo. Once she accepts the male they preen each other and stay very close. The male sometimes “drives” the female. He follows close behind and gives her a peck when she stops walking in areas where other males might be around.
Many chases or fights now are a result of an unmated male trying to gain the attention of a female. Males also chase pairs away from the territory that they’ve claimed for the season. It’s like the Jersey Shore reality show (dove version) right in your own backyard.
Source: Ecology and Management of the Mourning Dove by Thomas S. Baskett