Mourning Doves

The Secret Life of Baby Mourning Doves: Everything You Need to Know

Baby mourning doves are a type of bird that is native to the United States. They are not migratory and can be found year-round in many southern states such as Texas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Their diet consists mainly of seeds, nuts and fruits but they will also eat insects when needed. 

Baby mourning doves have beautiful gray feathers with white spots on their wings which cover their eyes while they hunt for food. They also have red feet which help them find the ground when they land from flying high into the sky. This post contains all you need to know about baby mourning doves!

The mourning dove has an average lifespan of 12 years and can live up to 20 years in captivity. Mourning doves are monogamous birds with one mate per season who will usually return to the same partner year after year. The young mourners are born about four weeks after mating where they spend their first few days living in the nest before flying off into the world on their own! 

The article goes on to talk about how people might react if they see a baby mourning dove being abandoned by its parents which could be due to several reasons including: predators, food shortage or illness/injury of parent birds.

Mourning Dove Egg Looks 

When the mating season arrives, female adult mourning doves lay two plain white nondescript eggs per clutch. This is done to ensure there are enough young when times get tough and food becomes scarce. Both parents incubate these for up to 14 days before they hatch into adorable baby birds! The adults may go on to have anywhere between five or six broods of little chicks in one season depending on how lucky they’ve been with finding their daily meals.

What are Baby Mourning Doves?

Baby doves are called squabs or chicks. They have patchy, yellowish down at the early age and their bodies are naked with dark bill as well as face; they also close eyes in this stage of life. The colors of the squabs’ feathers begin to emerge after about 10-12 hours with shades ranging from pale buff browns on top of its head that blends into orange ginger below its neck gradually darkening as it moves down to reddish cinnamon at the tail end but these small birds have yet grown enough for any coloration past this point.

When baby mourning doves first make themselves known by peeping soundlessly out of their egg nest’s hole (within 12-24 hours), their skin is still so thin you can see every tiny rib bone sticking up like jagged spikes along each side; within 24 more hours. 

At around 7 days old, the squab’s eyes will be open and dark. They also should have gained some pin feathers that look like shafts of a feather without barbs sticking out on their body. You’ll see them laying in an orderly fashion within the nest with scraggly yellowish down poking up from it as well which makes them seem frazzled looking already! These babies are growing fast too; they’ve almost doubled in size and weight since hatching only 2 weeks ago.

The Mourning dove grows its feathers so fast! In just 12 days, they’ll be a fully feathered fluffball. Their slaty brown color is almost the size of your palm at this point, and that means it’s about time for them to fly away from their nest for the first time.

Around 12 days old, the mourning doves will grow into fluffy balls with white-feathered wings larger than our hand in length! They’re all set to leave home now–just as soon as mommy does her final inspection on each one before sending them out into the beautiful world. 

What Do Baby Mourning Doves Eat?

Male and female adults produce crop milk, a nutrient-dense liquid that is also high in fat. Both parents feed the milky substance to their young while they are still developing in a nest where it’s warm on top of them. Eventually as they grow older, their diet transitions from this milk to seeds which adult mourning doves use for food as their main source of nutrition when living outside of the nest or dwelling place. 

The crop is a thin-walled, sac-like food storage chamber that extends off the esophagus and aids in storing food quickly while foraging. This allows birds to go back into secluded areas or their nestlings to digest more thoroughly without worrying about being attacked by predators such as hawks. Most bird species have crops but not all of them make milk from it; they are just used as an extra means of energy when needed.

The crop, which is part of the digestive system, shifts its function to milk production just a day or two before eggs hatch. This change in hormones triggers an amazing and selfless act from parents: they stop eating entirely so there are no seeds left for new squabs. The baby birds don’t have developed enough yet to digest seed; but luckily by this time mom has tapered off her hormone levels and breastfeeds them with much needed crop milk!

Crop milk is nutrient-dense and contains more protein, fats, antioxidants, and antibodies than human or cow breast milk. It also has immune building properties with these nutrients from the parent doves themselves that make it even better for their baby squabs to enjoy while feeding naturally like a straw through their mouths open wide.

How Often Do Baby Mourning Doves Need Feeding?

Brand new babies will need to be fed more often than older squabs. Younger doves, at 0-4 days old, should feed five times a day on watered down formula while the 5-7 day olds can get by with four per feeding and 8-14s are only required to eat three meals in one go. Fledglings have seeds as their primary diet but they still may require some extra attention from time to time based on how developed they were when weaned!

I’ve been told that the safest way to feed a baby dove is by pouring formula onto a spoon and letting them suck it up. If food is poured into their mouths, they may aspirate while trying to suck or drop it in themselves. So let’s just be cautious and allow them to take on leadership for slurping!

Can You Rescue a Baby Bird? 

Great question! First thing to do is determine what stage of growth the little guy or gal in flight, and then find out where it’s found. For example, if your 2-day old hatchling was found on the driveway but can’t fly yet because its wings are still developing (poor lil’ tyke), stay calm. Just scoop him up gently with an index card or paper towel so he doesn’t get hurt from running into anything while wriggling around trying to escape—they don’t like being touched by humans until they grow and develop more feathers for warmth later on.

When Baby Doves Leave the Nest?

Baby doves leave the nest when they are about two weeks old, but they stay close to their parents and continue to be fed by them for another week or two. They also love spending time with each other in this period because it will help prepare them for raising a new generation of baby dovelets! Dove babies typically leave the nest at around 2-3 days old; however, they still stick closely to mom and dad during that first couple months as well as after leaving home until 3-4 weeks post departure from nesting grounds.

Mourning dove chicks have gorgeous white markings all over their faces, with the exception of a few speckles on their beaks. These unique marks make them very easy to distinguish from adults because they are so unlike any other baby birds we might see in our backyards!


The Secret Life of Baby Mourning Doves is a great read for anyone interested in wildlife, ornithology, or just wanting to know more about this fascinating creature. This guide will help you know what to do if baby birds need your assistance. First, make sure the bird is actually a fledgling and not just an egg or nestling that has fallen out of its home. 

If it’s in trouble because it fell from its nest or was abandoned by parents, then carefully take off any nearby debris before scooping up gently with both hands cradled close together on either side of their body like making a sandwich (not too tight as this can constrict them). To keep little ones warm until they see fit to fly away again into another tree for safety’s sake later at night-put some feathered friends down below such as wool socks filled with rice wrapped loosely around small branches.

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