Good Mourning!

Mourning DoveThis graceful mourning dove (zenaida macroura) is a regular visitor at our breakfast window. Normally shy and retiring, the love of sunflower seeds overrides his wariness.

It’s a very common backyard bird in this country, a protected bird in some places yet it is hunted in season in many states…. not in New Hampshire since they aren’t numerous enough.  Other states that ban dove hunting are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Alaska.

Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Alaska. – See more at:

Interesting facts:

  • They are monogamous and mate for life.
  • Some migrate. Some do not if food is plentiful.
  • They are named for their ‘mournful’ song.
  • They are the Wisconsin state symbol of peace.
  • Nests are so loose you can see the eggs through the twigs.
  • They are the most frequently hunted species in North America.
  • Up to 45 million are killed by hunters annually, yet they remain plentiful.
  • They eat approximately 12 – 20 percent of their weight daily.
  • The oldest mourning dove lived to 31 years 4 months old.
  • They are one of a handful of birds that enter a shallow state of torpor at night when fasting.
  • …and finally, many years ago, my young daughter adopted and raised an abandoned chick.

5 thoughts on “Good Mourning!

    • They can nest 5 or 6 times a summer in warmer parts of the country (certainly not here!)… always 2 eggs. They must reproduce that often as the mortality rate is high, almost 70% for young and almost 60% for adults.


  1. I’ve had many mourning doves nest in my yard. They don’t always find a good spot to nest. Most of the time the ravens swoop in and get the eggs before they hatch. For the ones that do survive, it’s such a treat to watch the babies hiding in my garden. They are very still but their eyes watch me constantly when I’m close by. They come out when the parents are around. I think it takes about a week for them to grow up and fly away.


  2. I do not hunt, but I always loved going dove hunting with my father. The season was always late autumn when the fields had changed colors and the insects were gone.


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