Mourning Doves

In addition to Goldfinches, we’ve also got plenty of Mourning Doves. Sometimes I think we have too many Mourning Doves. Not exactly a rare bird.


On the other hand, they have a certain appeal. I like that call they make: Coo-oo, Coo Coo. If you’ve never heard a Mourning Dove call, here’s a link. Also, when Mourning Doves take off into the air they make this squeaky sound, like they need some WD-40. It’s actually the wind rushing through their wings.


Mourning Doves like to eat on the ground, but they also eat on my platform feeder, which I fill with safflower seed. They congregate on the platform and look like they are all chatting at a cocktail party, asking each other if they’ve read anything good lately.


Some people hunt Mourning Doves, which I don’t understand. They can’t have much meat on their bones. I remember when I worked in the Wisconsin legislature (almost 20 years ago), Mourning Dove hunting was a highly charged issue. There was this one state representative who kept a stuffed Mourning Dove on his desk, impaled on a fork. He was one of the pro-hunting lawmakers.


No hunting is allowed in the suburban town where we live, which is mainly a good thing (though I’d support an exception for rabbits).

They’re not really an exciting bird, but still I like having Mourning Doves around.

39 Comments on “Mourning Doves

  1. At my home, these guys were as naughty as those goldfinches! Well, maybe they were not as messy, and not as numerous. They tried to nest on top of my refrigerator. The nest was just a circle of pine needles, but they kept bringing it back when I threw it out the window. I do not know what was so special about that spot. When I closed the windows on that side of the house, they came in through a bedroom window and found their way back to the kitchen to rebuild their nest! I kept all the windows closed on a warm day, and they waited outside and cooed sadly! I would guess that eventually, they could not delay starting their family, so nested elsewhere.

  2. We have a similar dove but with a dark ring around the neck. I hate their call (exactly like yours) and the mess they make. They seem to stay in their pairs even when they’re not breeding so sometimes they are called “love birds”.

  3. I don’t have a problem with mourning doves at my house. I like having them around, but they don’t come very often.

  4. The Mourning Dove is a common bird but that is part of it’s appeal. It doesn’t abandon it’s territory during winter. It is a calm assuring companion in the garden. I have one pair that has nested in the same spot, prime real estate in the grape vine, the past two summers. It will be interesting to see if this pair will survive this severe winter we are having and nest in their spot again. It was sort of funny last summer a robin took their spot and the MODO was beside itself. It kept checking on the spot. I don’t know if it chased away the robin or if the young robins fledged. It was soon after I saw young robins big enough to fledge that a MODO built it’s flimsy nest right over the used robins nest. Such is the drama in the garden.

  5. They used to be very common at my home with lots of nesting pairs. But the last few years I have seen fewer and fewer of them.

    • Huh. I wonder why that would be. Disease, maybe? Bird populations do seem to fluctuate, even if there is no long term decline for a given species.

  6. We have a few here now, and yes they do seem to wait for somebody to drop things from above. It feels peaceful when they’re around, they don’t seem as anxious and rambunctious as other critters around the feeders. I never understood the hunting of them-unfortunately it passed legislature in Wisconsin.

  7. Common, yes, but close up they are beautiful. I, too, like the sounds they make when they coo and fly. We have them aplenty in our yard, and in the winter, we throw seed on the ground for them and for others who prefer to eat on the ground.

  8. I love mourning doves – and we usually have a profusion of them under the feeders. One of my friends said that their “song” annoyed her and I just don’t understand that at all. I find it rather comforting.

  9. There are plenty here as well and even though I don’t think they’re the brightest of birds, they are nice to have around in the mix.
    Have you seen any Eurasian collared doves? I’ve heard they’ve spread cross country in the past few years but it’s still all mourning doves in this part of Pa.

  10. I too like mourning doves. They look so soft! One thing I don’t like about them is their tendency to wait until the last second before taking off as one nears them. I’ve been startled many a time by that sudden rush of wind through their wings!

  11. I like them, too. We don’t seem to have them around much during the winter, even though we have a heated birdbath. Maybe it’s because we have so many owls and hawks around during the winter? But it sure is fun to watch them when they’re here. (I agree about the rabbits.)

  12. Your morning doves would be welcome in our garden. When we first moved into this house our neighbour asked if we heard the owls hooting in the early morning, turned out to be wood pigeons. They are not so welcome but would have a bit more eating on them than the morning dove.

  13. I think these birds are delightful, we don’t have any here, only collared doves which are very similar, gentle little creatures they are. I enjoy seeing mourning doves when abroad. What a shame that people would want to hunt

  14. I love mourning doves. I don’t get very many, except maybe in late spring, early summer after breeding season has kicked in, before they become tasty meals for the neighborhood hawks. It was a dove that first sang along with the music, and I will never forget that.

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