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, May 26, 2015

How long before doves leave the nest

The day before Mother's Day I discovered a pair Mourning Dove's had built a nest in one of my hanging flower pots on my front deck.  The first egg was laid that night and the next morning the 2nd egg. On Mother's Day they would fly away from the nest whenever I got too close, but each day I would go out and stand near them, talk to them and move closer and closer over the 2-weeks. 

This past Saturday the first egg hatched.  I haven't been able to tell if the 2nd one hatched, but I can now stand less than 2 feet from the nest and look the bird in the eye and they just sit there (probably wondering what I'm saying to them).

I've been trying to figure out which bird is the dad/Burt and the mom/Pippa - I usually see one with a longer tail and iridescent neck feathers sitting on the nest, and always assumed that was Pippa.  That is actually Burt isn't it? 

The day the first egg hatched, the bird I thought was Pippa started looking a bit disheveled (like the stuffing in a feather pillow - feathers poking out), was this in preparation for the hatchlings?

I would like the doves to stay and make my porch their home but I want to take down the ugly planter they are nesting in.  When can I do that and replace it with a larger planter without causing them to fly away and never return?

Once the baby birds have fledged you can replace the planter.

Both male and female mourning doves share in incubating and feeding their young. Mourning Doves sit on their eggs for about 2 weeks, feed the babies in the nest for about 2 weeks and then care for their young for about a month after they've fledged. Once they leave the nest they won’t return unless they want to build another nest a month later.

Males are larger than females and show more color with a bluish cap, pink chest and neck feathers and three white outer tail feathers. The female is graced with an olive gray cap and a tan breast. Neck feathers can be greenish or pinkish with one or two white outer feathers. Juvenile Mourning Doves look like the parents except for a little white at the end of each feather and a lack of iridescent feathers.

The male usually incubates from mid-morning until late afternoon, and the female sits the rest of the day and night. When not on nest duty they eat enough to fill their bi-lobed crops and then fly back to digest.

While most birds meet their chicks’ protein needs by bringing back insects, doves feed their newly hatched chicks a fat- and protein-rich “crop milk.” This whitish fluid comes from liquid-filled cells that slough off the lining of the crop, a portion of the esophagus. After 5 or 10 days, the chicks switch to a diet of regurgitated seeds or fruit.

Related Articles:
Why is the Dove a Symbol of Peace? http://bit.ly/wMKEKF
How Do You Keep Doves From Dominating a Feeder? http://bit.ly/zDAwR2
How Mourning Doves defend their nests http://bit.ly/LiE7TH
Do Birds Sip or Slurp? http://bit.ly/N6syCY
Mourning Dove nesting facts and figures http://goo.gl/WeLWy

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