Mourning Doves do not build their own nests. They often nest directly on the ground under a low bush. They will also nest in old bird nests, flower pots—just about anywhere. There are usually two babies to a nest. Unlike other songbirds, the parents do not feed them often and may only visit them for feeding several times each day.

It is easy to determine if a nestling dove has been recently fed by the parents. In the picture below, the dove on the right has been recently fed and has a swollen neck area. The dove on the left has an empty crop. A baby dove can be checked periodically to see if the crop area enlarges. If it does, the parents are feeding it.

If a baby dove is not injured, then leave it alone. It is fine, and the parents are caring for it.

Young fledgling and pre-fledgling doves look much like the adults. You can easily tell the difference by the shape of the tail. Adults have a sharply pointed tail, whereas a juvenile’s tail is rounded.

Young doves are easily approached and should be left alone except when they have an obvious injury.


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