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Birding/mourning dove bird nest


Hello Mr. Lederer, a pair of mourning doves has just built a really flimsy nest on top of the rose arbor over our front walk. It's tiny for one thing, it's barely the size of the mother's body- and I have no idea how the chicks will be able to stay in it once they hatch. Do you think the mother would tolerate us picking it up (I was going to use a big spatula) and putting a flat basket with sides under it? I was thinking it could be zip tied to the slats for stability. Or do you have another idea of what we could do to help? I love having the doves in my yard and want to encourage them.

Hi Sheila. I almost always lean towards letting nature take its course, as I do here. Doves build flimsy nests; that's just what they do. About two weeks after the eggs are laid they will hatch. Always two eggs. After another two weeks the young will leave the nest - BEFORE they can fly. That's normal. They will jump to the ground and the parents will feed and watch over them until they can fly.
Unless there is a strong wind or cat or some other disaster, the young will do fine . It is not likely, but possible that the adult birds will abandon the nest if you change it. A basket and zip ties might scare the parents off. Best to leave mother nature handle this. Doves are very prolific so what they have been doing over millions of years seems to work well for them.


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Roger Lederer


Any and all about WILD birds - the science of ornithology. Information about birdwatching, ecology, conservation, migration, behavior, banding, rehabilitation, feeding, songs, binoculars, identification, and careers in ornithology. No questions about pet or caged birds, please.


Have a PhD and over forty years as a professional ornithologist - research, teaching, author, speaker, webmaster of . Have written thirty scientific papers, three bird field guides, a textbook in ecology four other bird books, the latest being "Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs". Have traveled to 100 countries watching birds and have spoken to hundreds of groups about birds.

PhD in Zoology/Ornithology; Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences; former Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico

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