Gentle Mourning Dove

Walking along our driveway one morning in Mid-March, I noticed something odd in one of our blooming Forest Pansy redbud trees. As I stepped a little closer, I discovered a female mourning dove sitting on a nest, with purplish-pink blossoms all around her. I wondered how long she had been sitting on the nest before I noticed it? Five days later, I saw a little feathered head alongside the mother mourning dove. A day or two after that, I could see two babies – one on each side of her.

Through cold weather, blustery wind and pelting rain, the mother protected her offspring. I counted about a month’s-worth of days from the time I noticed the mother sitting, to the time her offspring fledged. I find that most fledglings flee the nest in early morning and both parents help to nourish the young ones in the days to follow. Some fledglings seem to venture right off into the trees as if they were born knowing everything about flight school. Others seem to struggle a bit, taking hours to finally get some lift and find a safe place off the ground.

Mama sitting on the nest.
If I had looked a little closer initially, I would have seen two feathered heads in front of mama dove.
Mama looks proud. She never flew off any time I came near. I even mowed under the tree and she never abandoned the nest.
I took this photo the day before the youngsters fledged.

Mourning doves are prolific here, and are present all through the year. I find myself marveling at their gentle resilience. Sometimes as I walk through the woods, I do not notice a flock of them sunning in the trees until they burst into flight, with wings making a slight whinnying noise as they head skyward. They are great seed foragers, often seen toddling along the ground looking for nourishment. They close the day with soft cooing calls heard throughout the woodland, often sounding sad or mournful. Their presence and message of gentleness is always welcomed and appreciated here.

© 2021 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


31 thoughts on “Gentle Mourning Dove

  1. What a heartwarming story. I visited after a while, though – but will catch up soon- hope you’ll have been well Lori in these crazy and trying times 🙏🏽😇

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    1. Ah, you know me well, Mandeep. I have been quiet for a while. It is only because of nature that I have managed to find gentleness in this “crazy and trying” world. I pray you and your family are well also.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You did a good job creating a pink redbud frame around the mother mourning dove in the first three pictures. You were fortunate that the mother stayed put even when you did your mowing.

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    1. I had to stand back and use the zoom for all of these. If I knew the mother would stay put, I could have placed a ladder near the tree for a better angle, but as you know with wildlife, sometimes it’s just luck to get a decent shot. Doves are not a skittish bird, which is probably why so many are killed by predators.

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  3. Your photos of the dove family are fantastic. I enjoy doves on the deck, just beyond my computer screen. They pick up dropped seeds from the feeder in winter and come to drink and bathe in the birdbath. Sadie considers them targets, but she would never be fast enough to catch one.

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    1. Thank you, Anne. We see a lot of death with the mourning doves, and I think it is because they’re slower and less alert maybe than other species of bird. They seem to be targeted by predators of all sorts. They are sweet, and gentle. I love to hear the cooing in the woods in the evening hours.

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  4. I like that you have written about a dove today and only a few days ago I wrote about rescuing a crested pigeon! Recently I was telling someone who asked what it is like to live in such a remote place and she said ‘so why do you live there?’ Obviously I had not properly conveyed to her all the good things, most of which are about living near nature and being able to interact with the animals and appreciate the landscape. I love this photo series and your tale about the mourning dove. Birds are fascinating for me, like some people watch fish in an aquarium, I love to watch birds. I see you have a couple of other new posts so I need to go have a look… xx

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    1. Living in or near nature is such a blessing! Fifteen years ago when we moved here, you never could have told me I would love this land, nor understand so much about what lives and grows here, let along enjoy the work that goes along with it. With that of course, there are difficult times and we’ve witnessed the brutal side of nature. I am bound to this land and all that lives here freely. It’s the thread of my life now.

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  5. So love these photos. We don’t have any doves where we live but during our lockdown the diversity and range of birds visiting our place has been wonderful to watch. Your doves are so gentle compared to our raucous Cockatoos that screech, and when they congregate in a flock of up to 100 or so birds they are deafening. But our magpies are comical to watch especially the young ones and when they chortle the sound is so melodic. The brightly coloured King Parrots come and go but are such a welcome sight. At the moment we have a large number of Satin Bower birds here, the females are green in colour while the male is a shiny black. We also have black and white pee wees, willy wagtails, blue wrens and rosellas. My hubby and I like you just love having the birds around and always find something new to enjoy.

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    1. Isn’t it wonderful how Covid has caused people to perhaps focus on different aspects of life, including nature? Our first orphaned deer, Daisy, taught me a lot about being alert and noticing the little things in life. My old “busy” self would have missed these mourning doves, hidden so well in the tree of blossoms. My eyes and senses are much more keen these days. The gift is often the messages the birds bring each day!

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      1. There has to be a silver lining to this current COVID situation doesn’t there? Just had a huge frost this morning and minus 2 degrees Celsius but our lovely birds are still out and about. I must start a log of birds seen here and when to better know what is happening in our environment. Take care.

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  6. Lovely shots of this sweet family. When we had feeders out, the bears convinced us to stop, there would be daily visits by mourning doves with their said coos. Lucky you to have this nest where you could visit and watch the young develop.
    Ha! Guess I spoke too soon about not seeing posts from you. 🙂

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    1. My stories have been stacking up in my head. We had a rainy day this week where I was stuck inside and decided it was time to get a few posts out.

      We don’t put feed out anymore because despite placing them well out the way where predator birds could just swoop down and nab the little birds feeding, we still saw too many deaths. I did put some seed out during the week of Siberian cold weather this year. All sorts of woodland critters came to feast on seeds that week!

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      1. That was a concern of ours also. Too often sharp-shinned hawks nailed one of our birds. Bad enough but occasionally one would decide to dine atop my car. We just bought a new freezer and found an ancient square of suet in the back. We miss the birds but they find food elsewhere without us and after two bear events with the feeders decided that was it.

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  7. They certainly are elegant. I am not so keen on them though, since a pair insisted on nesting on top of my refrigerator inside the kitchen. It was many years ago. I kept tossing their pine needles out the window, but they just kept bringing them back.

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    1. We’ve raised a few species of orphaned doves in our rehab days. They’re truly sweet and fun to watch grow. We have had a few in the house as well. It’s kind of like dog hair, but with bird poo and feathers… and in your case, pine needles!! Ha ha!

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      1. The finches were the worst! Although it was not their fault. A neighbor, who happens to be an Okie, had me plant sunflowers on the driveway. I cut a few down low where no one would miss them, and brought them in. Well, you can guess what happened, all over the dining room!

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  8. I do love the doves. Right now, I have a half dozen or so at the feeders outside my window, and given the active pursuits I’ve been witnessing, there will be more babies to come. I suspect it might be second clutch time, as late in the year as it is. Thinking about it, I realized I’ve never seen a dove nest in a tree. I usually see them in odd spots around the marinas, especially atop sheltered poles on the docks. This one’s nest looks remarkably well-constructed. Most of the ones I see look like someone just threw a handful of sticks into the air and let them land any which way.

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    1. You would be quite correct in the poor construction of a dove nest! In the early years on this place, I often discovered dove babies on the ground after a storm in the night. There never was a way to put babies up in the tree as the nest was destroyed. We raised quite a few orphaned doves along the way.

      I never thought about life for doves in other places. Like any wildlife, they’re likely highly adaptable. And I didn’t realize they can have one to six broods a year! No wonder they’re so heavily populated!

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  9. Both the birds and your appreciation of them is beautiful. Akin to you and Ardys we treasure our bird-life. Watching them, and the soundtrack of their calls gives us much pleasure and peace. Visitors -who take the opportunity to look and listen- are amazed at the their variety and numbers in and around our place. It’s nice to know and read stories fellow friends of birds.

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    1. One observation I made a couple of years ago, made me realize that both wildlife and plant life tend to flourish in places of good and positive energy. Any thing we can do to share our caring and appreciation with nature, seems to bring abundant life to the area. There was a man who lived on this property for a little more than ten years, who was quite a dark force. As soon as he moved off the place, we began to see beautiful change in plant life, and birds, squirrels and rabbits showed up again. I know it sounds crazy but even the chickens seemed healthier and laid more eggs!

      Like you, when visitors “take the opportunity to look and listen” and remark on bird life here, I feel warm and fuzzy knowing that others appreciate nature and understand our efforts to live in harmony with the wild things.

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  10. Lori the photos of the gentle mourning dove are wonderful. The mama dove could not have placed her nest in a lovelier place. I so enjoyed reading this post. Mourning doves rate at the top of my list as a favorite. Here in my area, they seem to be making a bit of a comeback since the white wings are not quite as prominent as in years past.

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    1. Interesting you should mention the white-winged doves, Yvonne. We did not see any this last winter. I wondered if the cold kept them further south this year. I have not seen any Eurasian collared doves, nor the Inca doves either. I am sure there may be documentation that might point a finger as to why the numbers were down or lacking. I got lucky photographing this mama and her little ones. She was quite tolerant of my presence, and I did thank her for the photoshoot. It’s always a gift when they allow my presence in their lives.

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      1. Lori, I think the severe weather was the demise of the Inca dove in some parts of the country,. Back about 30 or more years ago there were up to 20 or more Inca doves came to eat the millet that I put out each day. One winter was quite severe but not as bad as this past winter. None the less the temps were well below the usual winter temps for a few days and then there were no Inca doves. In fact I have yet to see another Inca dove on my property many years later. My son sees them out in the country though and he feeds those that come around.

        I think weather and competition from the white wings played a part in diminishing the mourning and Inca doves numbers in some areas.

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