Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Mourning Doves Nesting

I waken to Òcoo-OOH, Ooo-Ooo-OooÓ, the sound of Mourning Doves almost every morning. It's a wonderfully comforting sound. After breakfast, I go to my studio and boot up my computer to start work. I can hear doves, thrashers, woodpeckers, mockingbirds.

This past weekend, a pair of Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) seemed to be checking out the large mesquite tree in the old play yard. Apparently they liked the location, because yesterday they started to build a nest. I can see the branch on which they're building when I'm sitting in front of my computer. However, the nest area is difficult to photograph, since it's well sheltered by mesquite branches that are finally bursting into feathery green leaf.

Mourning Doves build their nests from dried grasses, twigs and pine needles. The male forages for suitable nest material.

One piece at a time, he carries it back to the tree.

He waits until the female is ready and then stands on her back to give her the nest material.

The female's job is to weave the piece into the nest. She then waits until her mate returns.

Mourning Doves breed in a variety of open habitats, including agricultural areas, open woods, deserts, forest edges, cities and suburbs. They eat seeds and feed mostly from bare ground.

With this miracle unfolding in front of me as I analyse data records and the Hornby Island eagle cam to check out when I want a break, what more could a working woman ask for?

TWO UPDATES:

Nesting Mourning Doves - Update - doves sitting on the nest. 17 April 2006
Sad Realism: Mourning Dove Nest Update - the empty nest; a solitary egg disappears. 23 April 2006

15 comments:

chiefbiscuit said...

You are so very lucky - but you know that alrready don't you? And lucky for us, you share the magic! Thanks (again!)

Ontario Wanderer said...

We've lots of Mourning Doves around but I have yet to see more than one nest and never have I seen a dove working on making a nest. Thanks for all of your great photos!

Jean said...

Vos photos d'oiseaux sont magnifiques !
Quelle patience vous devez avoir pour pouvoir obtenir ces clichés si réussis !

Endment said...

Lovely, lovely.
Although there appears to be a tiny bit of spring courting here, the mourning doves have not begun to set up housekeeping for the season.
Lovely photos, lovely bird on the wing... lovely lovely

chiefbiscuit said...

Hi Pam - me again. RYN I left some writers names on my 'Hard Rain ... ' blog :)

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

This story was lovely with the pictures. I enjoy your site. ;-)

Rexroth's Daughter said...

How fantastic that you will watch this nest-building right from your window. Great photography, Pam. Really beautiful.

I can't connect to the Hornby Island Cam anymore. It's too busy! I've been checking out the other links that you sent us. Eagles are nesting all over the country. It's just so wonderful.

I found a blog this morning that has some fine photographs of baby owls and baby red-tailed hawks. As soon as I saw them I thought of you! Check this out:

Baby Birds

TDharma said...

the doves are beautiful - how lucky to have them right there with you!

Pam in Tucson said...

chiefbiscuit - Lucky indeed!

ow - This is a first for us. I understand the nests are flimsy, so I'm being careful to try not to startle her.

jean - Merci beaucoup. Pas patience, je crois; plus la bonne chance.

endment - I'll look forward to seeing your Mourning Doves when they settle in.

cynthia - Thank you!

rd - Thanks for pointing me to "Baby Birds." The photos are wonderful! Seems to nest building is over. One dove has been sitting on it all day.

tara - I'm thrilled. They are lovely, aren't they? The finches have abandoned me (I thought they would when the nest they were building blew away), so I'm happy to have a new opportunity, even though I'm getting a lot less work done than usual.

Clare said...

Always have loved the calls of Mourning Doves, they sound so... well mournful. I remember first hearing them when I was a youth visiting an aunt in Stonewall Mb. I was fascinated. Enjoyable post. Comme toujours.

wolf21m said...

We have lots of mourning doves in our area. I too love the sound. These photos are excellent!

Anonymous said...

I have a wounded MD. I have had it for two days. It seems to have a small punture on its front breast on the right side but it is not bleeding. It is drinking water very well. It has one large feather on its left wing that is severely damaged. Its legs are in perfedt condition and it is very alert. I am offering it boughten bird seed and havw managed to find "wild seed" still intact in some grassy hay that we have. Any other ideas? No it can not fly. Each time I offer it water it drinks very nicely. It has been pooping so I think it is eating as well. the droppings have perfect consistancy. I hope to rehab it and release it.

Paulette said...

Paulette has the wounded bird. Any asvise please send email to Harmony@HarmonyHorsemanship.com

Pam in Tucson said...

paulette - I responded in an email. I really can't help you, but suggested you contact a wildlife rehab. center near where you live. Good luck!

clare and wolf21m - Thank you! I do love the sounds of the mourning doves. Not only do they have the sweetest sounds of the doves we have here, but they are also the most delicate-looking and elegant. I welcome them and hope that they will try nesting nearby again some time.

Anonymous said...

HAVE FOUND A YOUNG MOURNING DOVE JUST OUT OF THE NEST, I BELIEVE HE IS BLIND IN ONE EYE. CAN ANYONE SUGGEST HOW TO CARE FOR THIS LITTLE ONE. LEAVE ON THE GROUND ( UNABLE TO FLY AT THIS TIME) OR TRY TO PUT BACK IN NEST OR TRY TO RAISE HIM. HELP PLEASE.
8/2/06. JKA29347@YAHOO.COM