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Mourning Dove - Dove Hunting - Upland Hunting

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Mourning Dove

 

Description

This bird is also known as the American Mourning Dove or the Rain Dove. The Mourning Dove’s length ranges from 9 to 13 inches and a wingspan of 15 to 18 inches. The body is usually grayish-brown with a long, pointed tail that’s bordered in white. The birds have a small, round head with a small, thin, black bill and a black spot under the eye. It is also important to note that these birds have brown eyes each surrounded by a blue circle of skin. Besides having small pink legs & feet, the Mourning Dove has black spots on its wings. The male and female Mourning Doves look alike although the females are smaller in size and duller in color.


Habitat
These game birds are considered as one of the most abundant and widespread of all the birds in North America. They occupy a wide variety of semi-open and open habitats like lightly wooded areas, prairies, farms, grasslands, roadsides, suburbs, and farms. However, these bird species avoid inhabiting thick forests and swamps. As of now, these birds have adapted well to living in areas that have been altered by man. For instance, you can find these birds near farmsteads, in cities, along the road, cleared farms, etc.


Diet
The Mourning Doves feed on seeds entirely. Cultivated grains, ragweed, seeds of grass and seeds from other plants are the main source of food. However, these birds feed on snails and rarely on insects.


Nesting
The males fly up with noisy wingbeats and then proceed to long circular glides with their wings fully spread and bowed down slightly. The male then approaches the female on the ground with his chest puffed out. To further impress the females, the male Mourning Dove bow and give an emphatic cooing. The mated pair then preen each other’s feathers and after a while, the male leads the female to potential sites they can build a nest.


The female chooses one of the sites mostly on a shrub or a tree although sometimes the nest site can be on the ground, on a building ledge or any other structure. The male brings conifer needles, twigs, grass blades and other materials needed as the female builds the nest.


Eggs
Females usually lay just two eggs although females can share a nest thus having 3 or 4 eggs in total. The eggs are white and take about 14 days to incubate. Incubation is done by both sexes with the male Mourning Dove incubating from morning to afternoon while the female incubates the rest of the day and night. Rarely are the nests left unattended by the parents.


For the first 3 to 4 days of life, the squabs (young ones) feed on pigeon’s milk but with time they start feeding on crop milk. The squabs rely on the male to feed them for the first 14 days before they start making short flights on their own.


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