Studying Our Mourning Doves
(Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
I've had a pair of mourning doves nesting in the rafters (and the collected yard stakes stored across the rafters) below our upper deck, about 11 ft off the ground. They are nearing the end of rearing their third clutch of chicks this season.
I've been building a lower deck, 1 foot off the ground, below the upper deck. After rearing two clutches of chicks, the doves now accept my presence and construction noise with little apparent fear. I talk to them regularly, things like "Pretty Girl", mimmicking their "coo, oooh".
It has been very interesting to watch how the parents gradually reduce their attention to the nest, and start to reject the crop feeding demands of their young as they ready to fledge.
I was very surprised, tonight, to find both parents in the nest with their chicks, at the same time. One parent seemed to be reluctantly feeding the chicks, while the other seemed very intent on grooming them.
I once thought that only the male had a black stripe running back from the eye, and under the cheek. Seems the female has them too. Both may have the ability to either display the stripes or to hide them?
Beautiful, complacent but private birds! Hard to resist trying to domesticate a fledgling pair.