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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mourning Doves, fascinating nesting facts and did you know about "pigeon milk"


Mourning Doves catching a little snooze on our garden bench which is in our veggie garden. Did you know you can tell male from female? The male is on the left, sleeping on the arm of the bench, the female is resting on the right. The male has a more rosy breast, female is more brown. So cute that they are making themselves at home. This undoubtedly is a mated pair.
Mourning Doves make a loose nest of twigs and lay two white eggs. Incubation lasts 12-13 days. Amazingly the male incubates the eggs without a break from morning until evening and the female does the same thing from evening until morning. The nestlings are in the nest for 12-13 days then fledge. The parents feed the young "pigeon milk," nutritious white liquid the parents regurgitate. The young put their bills inside the parent's and the parent pumps the food up. Toward the end of the nestling phase, an increasing percentage of the food is regurgitated seeds and insects. The parents brood the young almost constantly until they are about ten days old. Feedings of the young are spaced far apart as the adults spend a great deal of time gathering food in their crops and then regurgitate it all at once to the young in the nest. Great stuff to know if you are watching a Mourning Dove nest.

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