Species group: Exotic Doves and Pigeons
Other common names: Carolina Turtledove, Carolina Dove, Carolina Pigeon, Rain Dove
Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
Mourning Doves are the abundant, easily visible mid-sized dove of North America, perhaps most famous for the way their wings whistle when they fly. Despite the fact that they are a popular gamebird with hunting seasons in many states, they enjoy powerful legal protection and can't be collected from the wild without the proper license. This species is relatively easy to breed in captivity, and an ochre mutation has been developed by captive breeders. However, many people are more likely to acquire this dove as a result of working with a wild bird rescue.
Despite the fact that it may be the most intensively hunted bird in North America, the Mourning Dove continues to be a highly successful, well-monitored, and easily observed species. Its seed-based diet, and its ability to nest quickly and repeatedly near human dwellings, seem to have secured its place in backyards all over America.
A graceful mid-sized dove with a tapered tail.
128 grams (4.5 oz.)
31 centimeters (12 in.)
15 - 19 years
Behavior / temperament:
Although rather friendly and easy-going as wild birds, Mourning Doves reportedly undergo a personality change in captivity. The males in particular may become highly aggressive in season, demanding that you supply a large, well-planted aviary that provides plenty of places for the female to get away from a pushy partner.
Mourning Doves don't accept cages as happily as many pigeon and dove species, and it's highly recommended that you provide a large pen or planted aviary if you are attempting to keep or breed this species. Although the northern wild population is migratory, the birds are quite tolerant of cooler temperatures as long as they have a secure shelter and a good diet.
Since they spend a lot of time on the ground, Mourning Doves can co-exist with unrelated birds that stay high and eat similar food, such as waxbill finches, allowing you to create a mixed-species aviary with bird activity on multiple levels.
Mourning Doves enjoy a heavily seed-based diet, which makes them about as easy to feed as the domestic pigeons. Don't forget to provide them with a source of grit to help them digest the seeds and grains they swallow whole.
Written by Elaine Radford
gentle cooing, melodic sound., docile personalities
large cage, average lifespan
Mourning Doves can be good pets
My experience with these birds is that they can be good pets, but they are definitely not for everyone. A family member had one that I got to know and it was a very nice bird, like to hang out with people, and was, overall, a good companion.
One thing a prospective owner may want to consider is the time they have to spend with a pet. Most birds require more attention than a new owner may realize and, depending on the bird, may get a little unruly. This particular bird was very noisy day and night, but I really don't blame the bird - it was in his nature to seek attention.
Birds are great pets, overall, if a person has time to spend with them. They are fairly easy to clean up after and can be taught various things. When trained and socialized properly, they are a great addition to a home..
From rebeccajoki Mar 28 2014 10:01AM
Very Calming, Intelligent Birds
I was about 13 years old when my three mourning doves came to me, and I had no experience with that particular species. I had hand raised orphaned robins and blue jays, also mended the wings of countless small bird species, but doves were new to me. Still, when a new building with big glass windows was put up nearby, my friends and I knew we had to go and make sure it had no disrupted anyone's flight patterns. Sure enough, my group and I discovered three separate females that had fallen victim to the tall building. One was past the shock stage and trying to take off, one wing quite injured. The other two were still out cold and I feared they had broken their necks. The gentle rise and fall of their chests had given me hope and, with the aid of my friends, we caught the terrified girl, and wrapped all three separately to keep them from harming each other. I carried home the conscious girl, who didn't struggle much after the first minute or so.
One friend remained behind with me to help me set the wing of the very much awake and in pain female. Afterwards, she left and I handled the other two alone, since they were not fighting. After a little while, I heard the frightened sounds of all three doves interacting with one another, though they were in separate cages. When I approached, the two that did not know me yet fell silent, watching as the third turned her attention to me and continued talking. I tried to mimic the sounds back, poorly I might add, and the atmosphere changed drastically as the other two began to chime in, reading off the third friend.
None of them had much of an appetite at first, clearly still in pain and a bit put off. I had no pain medication weak enough for them, and I could not offer them to a local shelter. Mourning doves were considered 'low priority' animals in that area due to their high numbers, so they would have been put down if the shelter already had animals to care for. As time wore on, though (a few days), all three began to casually eat some food I offered. They were very vocal and I could feel the way their soft sounds soothed my own anxiety disorder. I feel as if, looking back, the three of them did as much good for me as I did for them.
After a few weeks, two of the girls began to show interest in flying attempts again, no pain showing in their movements. I removed their splints and allowed them to practice on their own, providing safe areas where the flooring was padded so failed attempts would be cushioned. The third girl, I began to notice, was not all too eager and seemed to be put off by the simplest movements. I later decided to play the 'I am a little girl please save my birdy' card with the shelter, going in crying. They informed me she had suffered some internal bleeding and they did not have the means to stop it. She had to be humanely euthanized for, if not, she'd simply be in pain until she died slowly from the slow bleed.
The other two continued to mend on their own, but it was clear the loss of their sister had affected them. Mourning doves are very emotionally driven birds, and have been known to die from depression. Fortunately, they still had each other. Once both showed signs of almost complete health, I tried to release the two of them. Neither was eager to leave, and it was a process that took months of coaxing. They broke my screen and I'd wake up with them in my room, and they'd join me when I would go outdoors. They did not, however, like when other people were around. When my friends were over, or my family were outdoors with me, they'd sit up high and coo irritably down at us. This showed me a few important things about mourning doves that anyone considering getting them should know; they can be very possessive and distrustful. When they choose you as their human, they do not want to be around other's, nor do they want you around others. They are very loyal and demanding.
Bottom line is, they are hardy animals that are very intelligent and thoughtful. They're good for anxiety levels. Finally, they are best suited for a life with someone who really has no one else, as they would prefer not to share you..
From BhuvanaMcGoats May 26 2015 12:17PM