Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

About the Bird

[full] [two_thirds class=”field_twothirds”]

Seen/Heard at
Decorah, Decorah North

Mourning doves are ground foragers. They eat primarily seeds, but will also eat berries and snails. Nestlings are fed crop milk or “pigeon milk” by both parents: a secretion from the lining of the crop of parent birds that is regurgitated to young birds.

Mourning Doves breed from mid-March through mid-August. Males bring nesting materials to females, including pine needles, twigs, and grass stems. Females weave them into loose, unlined, cup-shaped nests about eight inches across. Mourning doves lay two white unmarked eggs per clutch and may produce as many as six broods per year in the southern United States. Females and males incubate eggs for 14 days and young stay in the nest for 12-15 days before fledging. Both sexes feed young. To learn more, visit Cornell’s website

Doves, Flamingos, and male Emperor Penguins are the only three bird species that produce ‘milk’ to feed their young. This curd-like substance contains protein, fat, minerals and antibodies to nourish and protect young. You can learn more about it here:

Bird Range Maps of North America
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003.
Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA. Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy – Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International – CABS, World Wildlife Fund – US, and Environment Canada – WILDSPACE.
Web Link:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of North America:
[/two_thirds] [third class=”field_third”]
General Description
Mourning doves are brown to tan overall, with large black spots on their wings, darker primary feathers, dark eyes, and pink feet and legs. Males may have bluish crowns and napes, and both sexes may have small dark marks or patches bordering their cheeks.

Mourning Doves live in Decorah year-round, although some winter birds could be migrants from colder climates.

Length: 9.1-13.4 in/23-34 cm
Wingspan: 17.7 in/45 cm
Weight: 3.4-6.0 oz/96-170 g
Females are often a little smaller than males

Wing Design
Elliptical. Optimized for bursts of fast, tightly controlled flight. Excellent at taking off quickly, maneuvering through branches, and avoiding predators.
[/third] [/full]