Despite being one of the most hunted birds in the USA, the mourning dove is also one of the most populous.
One pair of doves may raise up to six broods every year with eggs hatching within 14 days of mating.
Over 20 million mourning doves are shot by hunters every year but for this hardy bird, mating and breeding is a speedy process.
What Is a Usual Clutch Size?
The common clutch size of a breeding mourning dove is two eggs.
How Long Is The Incubation Period?
The usual incubation for mourning doves is up to 14 days.
How Long Is The Nestling Period?
The nestling period varies between individual squabs ever so slightly, but in general it tends to last anywhere between 12 and 15 days.
What Do Mourning Doves Eggs Look Like?
A set of ‘normal’, healthy new mourning dove eggs will be white in color and appear to be completely unmarked and unblemished.
What Condition Will The Squab Be In After Hatching?
Once all of the incubation and nestling has been completed successfully and the squabs have finally hatched from their eggs, they will be in an extremely helpless state.
Their eyes will be closed and their bodies will be very sparsely covered in what looks like a cream-colored down.
They won’t be able to hold their own heads up yet and will be depending on their adult parent for the vital body warmth to keep them alive at their most vulnerable stage.
The baby mourning doves will be fed crop milk by their parents and as is usual with all members of the Columbidae family, both mom and dad will take their turn at looking after the chicks.
It is extremely important that you do not touch or remove the newborn squabs from their nesting area at any time during the 12 to 15 of the nesting period.
Removing them from the warmth of their parent in this vital early stage can expose them to conditions that they might not be able to recover from, especially when they are essentially blind and featherless and completely vulnerable to any adverse conditions whatsoever.
It is also important to stress that just because 2 eggs per clutch is the normal amount for a mourning dove, that doesn’t always mean that you are going to have two successful incubations every single time.
Nature can be cruel and not every egg successfully becomes a healthy squab.
This is something that experienced pigeon breeders will be all too aware of.
Please note: You cannot keep a mourning dove as a pet in North America. As a wild and native species, the mourning dove is protected under the Migratory Bird Act. You should not own or domesticate a mourning dove.