Eurasian Collared-Doves are expanding their range, look for them at your feeders
Mourning Doves are common feeder birds across the country
Doves like to drink and bathe
Mourning Dove snoozing on nest. They lay 2 eggs.
Common Ground-Doves are small doves
1. Mourning Doves are the most common doves found at feeders nationwide. Eurasian Collared-Doves are mainly found in the southern and middle part of the country. White-winged Doves and petite Common Ground-Doves are found mostly in the southern parts of the country.
2. Doves are seed and grain eating birds, so they eat many wild seeds and will come to bird feeders for a variety of seeds including millet, milo, corn and sunflower.
3. Doves are large birds (except for Common Ground-Doves) and feed mainly on the ground. So when choosing bird feeders, select feeders that have a platform or wide ledge so doves can land and comfortably eat. Doves will also feed on seeds that fall to the ground from bird feeders. The Stokes Select 3 in 1 Platform Feeder and red Platform Feeder are excellent feeders for doves.
4. Doves feed differently than some other small feeder birds such as chickadees, who come to your feeder and take one seed at a time. Doves have a crop in which they store seeds for digestion afterward. So you may see doves coming in and consuming a lot of seeds, then going off elsewhere to sit on a branch to rest and digest.
5. Mourning Doves are in in pairs in summer. In spring the male gives his long "ooahoo oo oo oo" call to court a female. Some people mistake this cooing for a sound an owl would make. The mournful nature of the sound gives this species its name. Mourning Doves build flimsy nests, lay two eggs and both parents feed their young "pigeon milk," nutritious whitish liquid the parents regurgitate. The young fledge at 12-13 days of age.
6. In winter Mourning Doves are in flocks of about 20 or more birds. The flocks drift about a given area as food resources change. There is a peck dominance hierarchy in the flocks, with some birds more dominant over others. At your feeder you may see one bird raise its wings and even hit at another bird with its wing in aggressive encounters.
7. Most doves have rather plain brownish or grayish plumage. White-winged Doves have a distinct white streak at the edge of the folded wing. Eurasian Collared-Doves look similar to Mourning Doves but have a black half collar with a lower white edge, behind their neck. They are expanding their range and might show up anywhere, so be on the lookout for them at your feeder. Common Ground-Doves are only 6 1/2 inches long and plain brown, with the male being a little more pinkish on the breast.
8. Provide doves with a bird bath to drink from and bathe in. When doves drink,they can keep their head down and draw in water in their bill. Other birds drink by dipping in their bill then tilting their head up and back to swallow.
9. Keep feeders stocked, water fresh, and enjoy the doves. Maybe you will even see a new species!