Mourning Doves

The mourning dove is aptly named, derived from the plaintive call the bird makes, sounding almost like an owl with its “coo coo coo woo song.” The mourning dove is one of the most widespread and abundant birds found in North America, with populations stretching from Central America up throughout much of Canada. Biologists estimate that there are nearly 400 million mourning doves, despite the fact that they are a game bird and nearly 20 to 40 million doves are harvested each year by hunters. A birder once told me that this large abundant bird’s main purpose was to serve as a food source for hawks, owls, and other predators.

The prolific mourning dove has a very high reproductive potential, with some pairs hatching six broods per season. Most broods consist of two eggs. Mourning doves are strong fliers; their wings make a whistling sound as they take off. These birds prefer open to semi open areas, and predominately eat seeds. Doves can consume nearly 20 percent of their body weight in a single day. They are frequent visitors to bird feeders, cracked corn, millet, and sunflower seeds their favorite meal. Doves prefer to roost and nest in small evergreens such as eastern red cedar, especially in open fields by a water source. Mourning doves migrate from their far northern range to warmer climates in the fall. They are normally found in Maryland from March until November when they will migrate to more southerly locations such as the Carolinas.

Article by FCFCDB

Nature Note for 2/28/2020