This Father to-be Mourning Dove is keeping watch as Mother Dove sits quietly on her nest. I didn't know much about Mourning Doves until this wonderful pair decided to make a nest in this bird house feeder that my husband had built years ago. It hangs just outside my sunroom, so I am able to see their every move and capture these beautiful photographs.
Monogamous as a rule, they have two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents incubate and care for the young. Mourning Doves eat almost exclusively seeds, but the young are fed crop milk by their parents. Courtship begins with a noisy flight by the male, followed by a graceful, circular glide with outstretched wings and head down. After landing, the male will approach the female with a puffed out breast, bobbing head, and loud calls. Mated pairs will often preen each other's feathers.
The male then leads the female to potential nest sites, and the female will choose one. The female dove builds the nest. The male will fly about, gather material, and bring it to her. The male will stand on the female's back and give the material to the female, who then builds it into the nest. The nest is constructed of twigs, conifer needles, or grass blades, and is of flimsy construction. Mourning doves will sometimes requisition the unused nests of other Mourning Doves, other birds, or arboreal mammals such as squirrels.
Most nests are in trees, both deciduous and coniferous. Sometimes, they can be found in shrubs, vines, or on artificial constructs like buildings, or hanging flower pots When there is no suitable elevated object, Mourning Doves will nest on the ground.The hatched young, called squabs, are strongly altricial, being helpless at hatching and covered with down. Both parents feed the squabs pigeon's milk (dove's milk) for the first 3–4 days of life. Thereafter, the crop milk is gradually augmented by seeds. Fledging takes place in about 11–15 days, before the squabs are fully grown but after they are capable of digesting adult food. They stay nearby to be fed by their father for up to two weeks after fledging.
Here are the twins. A perfect little pair of Mourning Doves. Soon they will be pushed out of the nest and onto their new life. I do hope that the mom and dad come back again to build their nest.