Monday, May 28, 2007
Mourning Dove Pair
A pair of Mourning Dove's has set up housekeeping in our weeping cherry tree which sits right outside our family room window. We are able to observe all the comings and goings quite easily from our perspective. The Mourning Dove is a member of the dove family, Columbidae. These beautiful birds habitat ranges from Central American to southern Canada. Since we have been able to observe our Mourning Dove pair quite freely, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this lovely pair. According to Wikipedia, the male leads the female to potential nest sites and the female will choose which one she wants. It is the female dove who builds the nest, a loose structure made from twigs, conifer needles, and blades of grass. The male flies about, gathering up material for the nest and bringing it to her. Generally a Mourning Dove clutch size is two eggs. They are small and white-colored. The male incubates the eggs from morning to afternoon. The female at night and for the rest of the day. Evidently they share quite freely in the parenting process. They are devoted parents and their nest is rarely left unattended. Incubation takes approximately two weeks. Once hatched, their young are very helpless with closed eyes and are downy covered. Both parents feed their young 'crop milk' that is produced in their intestine until the babies are gradually augmented by seeds and adult foods. The young remain in the nest for 11 - 15 days and then leave the nest, but remain near so their parents can continue to feed them for several more weeks. It is going to be interesting to observe this process! I hope the little ones remain nearby so we can watch them grow.