Meet Your Backyard Birds

THE MOURNING DOVE

A brownish, iridescent dove, black spots on wings, and sad cooing voice

Males larger than females, difficult to tell apart

Locally non-migratory

Mate for life

Length: males 12-13”; females 9-12”

Weight::  4-5 oz

Lifespan:  Typically 1-3 yrs; longest-over 30 yrs.  Less than half make it past one year of age.

 

  Mourning Dove Fun Facts:

  • Mourning doves drink by sucking up water; they don’t need to tilt their head back to drink

  • They may have up to six clutches of eggs annually, the most of any North American bird

  • Both parents feed the young a crop milk to “inoculate” them with needed digestive enzymes

  • Mourning doves are one of  the most numerous bird in North America, with an estimated population of over 400 million birds

  • Mourning doves have been clocked flying at 40-55 miles/hour

What Foods do Mourning Doves Like?

Mourning doves’ diet is almost 99% seed.  They feed on the ground, but readily eat from trays.  Their large crop allows them to eat a wide variety of seeds, but they prefer to forage for small seeds on the ground.  They are voracious eaters.  One was found to have about 17,000 bluegrass seeds in its crop.  They will occasionally eat snails! 

In our yards, Mourning doves will eat a wide variety of seeds.  Their preferred seed is millet, and they will eat safflower, neither of which is attractive to squirrels.   Here’s a list of products available in the store which we have seen Mourning doves eat:

No-Mess Blend. Medium Sunflower Chips

Black Oil Sunflower Bark Butter (spreadable)

Nesting SuperBlend/Winter SuperBlend White Millet (with/without the shell)