Baby doves

by Pat Pease
(Green Valley, AZ)

Parent dove and babies

Parent dove and babies

I first noticed the dove nesting in my hanging flower pot just outside the window in late February.

As much as I love sitting in my patio swing, I tried to avoid the area so as not to frighten her, but although she watched me she didn't fly away when I opened the door to let the dog out and back in.

Even opening the door from our bedroom only a few feet from her nest wasn't a problem. She would watch me, but she stayed put.

At one point, when the nest was empty, I pulled the drip system from the pot so that it would stay dry. I wasn't worried about the succulent plant that cascades over the sides of the pot.

As the weeks passed, the babies hatched. I first noticed them on March 24, their little heads peeking up over fluffy little bodies.

The parents were always on the nest, so they were several days old before I knew the eggs had hatched.

By this point, I was able to go outside on the patio, put food in the bird feeders and water in the bird bath.

Mama and Papa doves would just watch. When we had some nasty winds, I gently inched the swing closer to the nest to stabilize it. Again, they just watched me. I was always very careful not to make sudden movements.

We have the added benefit of having solar screens on our house which make it easy to see out, but from the outside the windows are blacked out.

This gave us the opportunity to get a very good look at our little bird family, which thrilled my young grandsons...and drove my cats nuts.

My cats are not allowed outside, so they chirp at birds from the patio door. No one around here allows their cats outside because of the desert wildlife, so birds have that in their favor.

What surprised me most was how fast the babies grew. They seemed to double their size almost every other day.

Yesterday, they were standing and walking around the nest, stretching their wings. I knew they would soon be strong enough to fly.

It's April 1st, and when I woke this morning the babies had left the nest. My only regret is that I didn't see them take flight for the first time.

Whenever I see a dove, I'll wonder if it is one of "my babies." I'll leave the nest in my hanging flower pot in case Mama dove decides it's a good spot to raise more babies.

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May 03, 2016
Mourning doves returning to nest
by: Anonymous

In my experience, it has only been a couple of weeks before they returned. They would nest from February through around July here in AZ.

May 01, 2016
our experience with mourning doves
by: Anonymous

We were thrilled to have a mourning dove build a nest on the underside of our porch roof - I have a sign on our porch "To everything there is a season" - 3 potted plants hung before that - this is where they choose to build

So exciting - April 4th - mom and dad took turns sitting on the nest
April 18th my daughter in law noticed the small

We watched them and took pictures and were amazed at how quickly they changed and how fast they grew - seemed that sometimes they doubled their size overnight.

April 30rd I took a picture of the babies in the nest and then covered up the window well under where the nest was and made a cushy landing - just in case.

One and a half hours later I went out to check on them and they had left the nest - I totally missed the exciting moment. Does anyone know the time frame before mommy dove would come back and lay new eggs.

It has been such an exciting process and I miss them already!

Ajax, Ontario

Feb 26, 2016
Doves on my Patio
by: Anonymous

I have just found two white eggs in a very flimsy nest in one of my pots on the patio. the next time I gently went out there the dove was on the nest. What a beautiful sight. I hope they stay safe I feel blessed.

Sep 07, 2015
Baby Dove won't leave nest
by: Andy S

I, too, had a nest made on an outside speaker on a covered porch which provides excellent protection for them. I have had the same doves come back year after year. This year after the babies flew away one came back and has been in the nest since. I can't figure it out. Never had one return. He feed around the shrubs in the back yard but returns to the nest. Anyone had this happen to them?

Jul 07, 2015
by: Barbara

I Also have doves in my hanging basket, it is right outside my living room window so I can sit on the sofa and watch them. They are about ready to fly away, they stand up and flap their wings, I say they are practicing for the big day. It has been so interesting to see Mother Nature work her magic.

Aug 05, 2014
Baby Doves Just Hatched
by: Anonymous

What if anything can I do to protect the babies from the stray cats that roam our neighborhood?

Jul 23, 2014
by: Anonymous

I rescued a baby dove about 2 weeks ago, I think he was about 7 days old then. His feathers are coming in on his chest now and he has always ate bird formula by himself but I need to know

1) when he doesn't need his light any more. (I usually keep it on him at night but my mother in law is getting mad that's it's too bright)

2) when he can have worms and water.

3) when he can be set free.

I won't chance him leaving yet because he can't get very far off the ground, he won't be protected, I don't think he can find food by himself yet or stay warm at night because his chest is still a bit bare.

I need some advise on what to do from here. Also, should I fight to give him a water bath? I throw his up to make him fly in the backyard also so he can get the feeling of being pushed out of the nest.

Jul 20, 2014
Our dove nest
by: Anonymous

We have a nest in our cherry blossom tree and its such a small nest. I saw the broken egg shell on the ground about a week ago and think maybe only one chick.

I just went out and could see how big the chick was and the bottom of the nest is falling away!! That worries me! I see the parents flying around but haven't seen them in the nest or tree when I've been outside the past few days.

We have a cat that does go outside so I sure hope that little one learns to fly right away and not be on the ground walking around.

Might see if I can keep the cat in tomorrow when I'm at work. Our kitty is a Houdini and can open window latches and pushes screens out so he can escape!!

Jun 16, 2014
Good for Petey
by: Anonymous

I always love a happy ending.

Jun 15, 2014
Petey is soaring high
by: Jamie from Dunedin,FL

My little patient Petey (that is what I named him) flew up onto this little ladder under my bathroom window to get out of the rain, plus the backyard was starting to get pretty soggy from all the rain we have been having. I was so happy, I knew that was a great sign!

The next day momma hung out on the ground under our gardenia bush(tree) just a couple feet from Petey. That afternoon momma and daddy were both on the ground taking turns going up to Petey to get him to get down fly.

Petey just kept looking down and rocking nervously. After awhile I decided to help them so I went out there and talked to him and was either going to pick him up or scare him into leaping, we'll look and behold he takes off and he starts flapping his wings, caught an updraft of wind and off he went like a pro to the neighbor's roof.

His parents and I just stood there stunned for a second. Then we started cheering!!! We'll at least I did! I am sure they did too in their own way.

Jun 13, 2014
by: Pat

I don't know, if you aren't able to get him back into the nest. When they are ready to fly, they often stumble around the patio for a while, but if he's not quite strong enough, he probably won't make it. It's encouraging that the parents are nearby. This will probably be one of those situations where you just have to wait it out and see what happens unless you are able to return him to his nest.

Jun 12, 2014
Worried in Dunedin, Florida
by: Jamie

My cat got into a nest that is much too low and got a dove that looks like it was just about ready to leave the nest. I got him away from Romeo ( he is now grounded) and he was shook up and his wing looks like it could be hurt.

After getting him settled and Romeo in the house I came back and he was half flying/walking around the yard to get away from me, so I left him alone for awhile so he could settle down and find a place to relax before I tried to make something to keep him safe.

I went back out 30 min. Later and he was up by the house in the shade, I put a laundry basket over him to give him more shade as the sun would start hitting where was at and I put bricks on it so no other cats could get to him and gave him some seed and water.

He could still get out on several sides but nothing large could get in.

I kept an eye on him from my patio and he jumped out after awhile and sat next to the laundry basket. Soon Mommy and Daddy bird looked like they were starting to search for him.

They finally found him, and they are taking over. What should I do now? I am worried something will get him tonight.

May 22, 2014
Our baby doves
by: Tonya

We have baby doves nesting on the arm of next doors sky dish. They are fairly big now and the parents seem to have left the nest, but they're not far, they sit in our tree.

I find it really fascinating because every time a pigeon comes in to our garden, one of the adult doves swoops down and chases the pigeon off.

I will miss our little doves when they go. I feel so honoured to have had this experience.

Nov 03, 2013
My Huge Family of Doves
by: Anonymous

Oh I have the same thing. Year after year, several clutches a season. I have a protected doorway and they nest in a stable planter.

Some even nest in one that swings and is exposed to the elements. I think the babies come back to have their babies.

Always feel sorry for the second one to finally get up the nerve to leave. They seem so lost and sometimes hang around for days.

I have a huge sheltered Spruce and in a storm I may have 40 fly in for protection. I think they might be my former 'kids'

They sit up their residence in the evenings during the winter or if a storm is coming.
I love them.
God's gift.

May 11, 2013
Baby Dove
by: Pat Pease

Why did you have them in a cage to begin with? With Mourning Doves the mother is in the nest half of the time and the father there the other half.

If one is not able to get to the nest (for instance, they die) then the baby doesn't stand much chance of survival, if any. The best thing to do is as little as possible.

The only things I ever did were to anchor the hanging basket when we had a storm so that the babies wouldn't fall out of the swinging basket and once I had to pick up a baby that had fallen out during a storm and return it to the nest.

Surprisingly, that baby did survive. I would never touch any part of the nest or babies except to rescue them from harm. Nature is best observed and not disturbed.

May 11, 2013
caring for newborn baby dove.
by: Paulette

My baby dove died a week after birth is there something I could have done to prevent that? I was told that I should have taken the dad out of the cage is that true? could I have hand fed her or not?

Apr 07, 2013
Poor baby dove
by: Anonymous

We have had a dove nesting on a shelf outside. We don't know if it is the same bird, but we had a dove in the same nest last year having 2 sets of babies.

This morning I went outside looking for the dove and he/she is gone...leaving behind a dead baby bird. It looked as if the baby had just hatched.

I removed the baby and buried it. Do you think the dove will come back? I do enjoy watching them.

Aug 02, 2012
Tina's Baby Doves
by: Anonymous

one day I noticed a mommy & daddy dove birds sitting on a nest on the ground in my driveway...never new doves had nest on the the baby doves are there on their own haven't seen mommy or daddy in a couple of days...wondering when they will fly to avoid the snakes & foxes having them for diner...went out tonight they are on the hood of my car, sound asleep...not sure what to do???...I have to go to work in the morning:)

Jun 19, 2012
help! scary location for nest!
by: Anonymous

Doves have built a nest in a tree branch that hangs over our pool. Today we found a broken shell on the ground next to the pool, so apparently a baby has hatched. Just hoping no baby dove accidentally falls or flies into the pool! Any suggestions? Thanks.

Jun 18, 2012
missing a parent
by: Anonymous

We are on our 3rd egg hatching. eggs not yet hatched. It appears as if one of the parents is missing. When eggs hatch is there anything we can do to help feed them. we live in Florida.

Jun 08, 2012
Someone please HELP
by: cymbalmom

As I know, the baby doves usually leaving the nest within 9 days of being born BUT one out of two left at 9 days but the other baby is still there and its been approximately another 9 or more days. The mother leaves from morning until night. Could someone explain what is happening because the baby now looks as big as the mother. I am afraid she may abandon the baby or should I say teenager.

Jun 05, 2012
Dove Experiences!
by: The Dys Man

We have a couple on our balcony, and they will be flying away within the next week. We do feel very honored to endure in this experience of life. Thank You God!

May 12, 2012
Dove nesting
by: Anonymous

The mama dove made her nest in my large potted plant on the back porch. I accidentally found her when I watered all the plants and she came flapping out and nearly gave me a heart attack.

I have been very careful to water only the other plants until today when I watered just a tiny bit on the opposite side of where she was and she just sat there and watched me.

She has been there about 4 weeks and I thought she would be gone by now. How much longer so I can water and keep my beautiful green plant alive?
Thanks for any info

Apr 30, 2012
My baby dove alex
by: Dove Lover

I found my baby dove by a bush across the street from my house. She didn't know how to fly but I still have her. She is so sweet I love her so much. She is a white winged dove she's beautiful.

She is only 3 weeks old. Here's a little secret doves love grits a lot. Because when I feed my Dove she puts her whole head in the bowl and chirps for more how cute.:)


Apr 21, 2012
Baby Dove on the ground
by: Anonymous

A week ago a baby dove appeared on the ground, by the back fence, being fed by a parent - lots of wing fluttering going on.

We have a large black Lab who "owns the fenced-in back yard, so needless to say these last seven days we've had to come up with some creative ways to keep Little Larry Bird (the name we gave it) protected while leaving an exit so it could find its way out whenever one of the parents shows up to feed it.

The dog did give it a rough smell one day when she got away from me and we've chased crows away several times when they've harassed Little Larry.

He's done some wing flapping and on day four took a short flight to a nearby fir, but was back on the ground several hours later. The parents are coming less and less, so we're hoping this is a sign he'll be ready to soon soar the skys.

While we've enjoyed watching, the dog would like her yard back.

Apr 20, 2012
oops...forgot to mention
by: Anonymous

.....the last pairing(just a couple of weeks ago) only had one baby. I was sitting in my room looking out the window and saw one of the adults and the baby fly to the top of the fence together and sit there for quite a while. I got distracted and missed when they flew away but I thought it was great that they made the journey together.

Apr 20, 2012
Our doves.....
by: Anonymous

We have storage "closets" standing outside our backdoor on the covered porch. We had laid a rolled up extension cord on the top of one. One day we noticed something was building a nest in the cord then we noticed a bird spending a lot of time there.

I looked it up and determined it was a dove. Not much later, there were 2 babies and then there were none. Since that time about 2-3 years ago, we get at least 3-4 "families" a season. We will hear the cooing signalling the process is beginning again.

There are almost always 2 baby birds but the nest is so high up that I've never seen the eggs. I didn't know birds grew so quickly. Fun to watch the mother and father taking turns and feeding together.

When we are at the back door, either watching or coming in and out, they get still and just watch us. The only problem is making sure we don't let the dog out when the babies are beginning to leave the nest.

One time, we let her out, not knowing and she got one of the babies. It stayed in the yard for days and then disappeared. I hope it was okay.

I won't let my husband move the nest because I enjoy knowing they have a safe place to start their families. Amazing nature.

Aug 22, 2011
baby dove
by: caroline

we recently had a collared dove lay two eggs which we had watched patiently to hatch. eventually they did. After a about two weeks we noticed that both the babies had left the nest and there were remains on the floor which only appeared to be enough for one bird. the parents continued to come to the tree. Then about another week later out of the blue i believe that one of the babies is back in out tree, now able to fly. sits in the nest and on the branches. My children are thrilled. Does anyone know if this is likely that one of the birds has indeed survived or another baby has come to our nest??
Would be really interested to know as a friend tells me this is not possible! many thanks

Jun 28, 2011
Doves in Palm
by: MaryBeth

Our baby doves hatched yesterday. They are in a small palm at eye level, completely exposed right outside the door of the pool house.
We are having our granddaughters wedding reception outdoors on July 16th. I have been so worried about the doves and all the noise and music. Will they be out of the nest by then?
What a wonderful experience this has been watching Mr & Mrs Dove.

Jun 20, 2011
What do I do?????
by: Anonymous

I'm at my mom's house for the weekend, and about a week ago two baby doves hatched in a flowerpot in her garden. My daughter has been fascinated with them and has been observing them as close up as I'll let her.

Yesterday, the mother dove stayed by her babies all day and all night. Today though, we had more family over and I think that the commotion scared mother dove away.

It's chilly here tonight and there is no sight of the mamma. I haven't been able to sleep because I've been so worried about the babies.

I finally carried the flowerpot in to the house and turned the heater on. Now I'm so worried that I did the wrong thing... Should I put them back out? ACK!

Jun 08, 2011
Baby Dove in my yard in same spot for hours
by: Anonymous

Over the past 2 months we had a family of Doves born in a hanging flower basket/pot. About a week to 10 days ago they all left the nest. Today I noticed one of the babies sitting on a bench in my backyard for hours. I just went outside to see if he/she is still there & it is still sitting there very still. Its close to 11PM, I'm hoping it will survive the night, I'm worried its not up high in a tree somewhere :(

May 16, 2011
Gambels Quail
by: Anonymous

I have a gambels quail nest in my yard. very close to our house with traffic from kids and dogs. if the mother is startled and flys off, will she return to eggs? if I get close to take pictures will she leave them?

Feb 26, 2011
I think you're missing the switch

You may want to read more about the doves here:


The male and female switch and since they look similar it looks like the same bird. Birds would abandon the nest rather than starve.

Feb 25, 2011
by: Anonymous

is it normal for the mother to sit on her egg and not leave to eat or drink water for 3 days...

Jan 28, 2011
my doves having babies
by: Anonymous

my doves having babies wow

Aug 17, 2010
lonely babies
by: Anonymous

The two dove babies still seem very young. Their mother and father have not been around for almost two days. I've seen their parents around but I have not seen either one visit the nest. My husband and I have been so worried. We have been getting up at night to check. Will they survive? They look so lonely and close together. We are worried.

Aug 16, 2010
The babies are gone!
by: Linda

Well they're gone. I wrote earlier today that we had just come back from vacation to find 2 baby doves on our deck box in our backyard. Daddy came around 7 pm, spoke to them then took off. Seconds later one of the babies flew off in his direction, then seconds more and the second one left. I'm wondering why they waited til dusk to leave. Any ideas?
Linda from Ontario Canada

Aug 16, 2010
Back from holidays I found two baby doves...
by: Linda

Just back from a vacation in Newfoundland, hubby and I discovered two young doves on our deck box in our back yard. They seem to be a good size.
Daddy has been around but no mom, though we did see a female dove on our streetlight out front.

The two babies nestle into daddy but they have not been fed since we discovered them this morning at 7 am, and no drink either. It is now 5 pm and they are alone. We have no feeders in our back yard so am concerned that these two darlings are vunerable to critters. It's interesting that dad seems more concerned than mom. Will keep watching.
Linda from Ontario, Canada

Jul 13, 2010
baby doves
by: kim

The baby doves will only be there for 2 to 3 weeks once they hatch. Toward the end, it will look like the mom and dad have stopped feeding/coming. But that is their way of letting the babies know that it is their time to go. The babies will look like they are growing overnight. When the grey fluff is gone and their brownish/dark grey feathers grow thicker, it will only be a few days before they are gone. I actually came home from work, after not seeing the parents for 4 days, and saw the mom up in the nest nudging the babies wings to help them fly. It was very cool. They sat perched on a nearby chair for a few hours and in the morning, the babies were gone. Bittersweet.

Jul 13, 2010
Baby Doves I'm Keeping Watch On
by: Anonymous

Anyone know when the baby doves will be old enough to fly to safety? We had a tree trimmed & didn't know there were babies in it so after the trimmers left, I discovered 2 baby doves on the ground. At first I didn't think the mother would find them, but she finally did & has been caring for them so they survived "the fall". The good thing is they are behind a bush, but I worry about them being on the ground. We don't want to trim our other bushes nearby either for fear of scaring them. Just wonder how long before they will be safe high in the trees again.

Jun 29, 2010
California Quail nest
by: Jennifer

We accidentally scared a California Quail off her nest that is in our strawberry box... Does anyone know if she will come back and sit on the eggs? We did not touch any of them and left the strawberries that she has been eating while sitting.. Now I am worried about the eggs.

Jun 11, 2010
concerned for lonely egg
by: dove watcher

Hi, I have a pair of mourning doves that have nested in a hanging basket on my porch too. The mama has been sitting on the nest day & night but this morning I noticed she was not in the basket and there is one little lonely egg sitting there.

She has not been back to sit on the egg all evening, the temperature outside is dropping into the 60's.... I'm concerned that the little egg is going to go dormant. I'm not sure how old the egg is, but the dove has been nesting there for a couple of weeks.

Does anyone know how long the egg can go without warmth from the mama? I hear the dove calling outside, but wonder why it's not coming back to the nest.

Jun 09, 2010
Baby birds too!
by: kim

I have the same story - 2 baby birds in my hanging plant. I would usually see the father on the roof around the 3 some watching over. A few days ago, I looked into the nest and the mother was gone.

She has been gone every time I have looked since. I am getting worried. The babies are quite big now. I have some great pictures and have been photo documenting their growth. I would be happy to share.

Do you think she comes back to feed them? Is she simply there when I am not looking? I am getting worried.


Adult Doves along with other birds begin to withhold food when it's time to leave the nest. This is what causes the young to leave the nest.

May 16, 2010
Hanging Basket Dove Nest
by: Anonymous

Well it is good to know that their are others that have had the same experience and have lost sleep too!

I also had a mama dove build her nest in a hanging basket that hung out on my balcony. My bedroom has a sliding glass door that leads out onto the balcony so I had a great view of the nest.

The hanging basket had some potting soil and the remains of a dead airplane plant that resembled a nest already. Mama had two little eggs also. I really enjoyed watching them especially when she fed them!

She also would leave the nest for long periods of time so I knew it would not be long until they would be ready to leave. In fact yesterday they were sitting on the edge looking down at mom or dad and when I checked on them later they were gone!

When I first looked out this morning no sign of the little family and then to my surprise the babies came back around noon today and have been fluffing each others feathers.

None of the family was ever afraid of me either although I was careful not to make any sudden moves or noise to scare the mom.

This was the first for me to see and it was quite a joy to see a bit of nature in an apartment dwelling.

May 08, 2010
"momma is gone but her babys are still here
by: Anonymous

After sending this post "Mom" decided to come back to the nest. She fed the babies and then rather than sitting with them as usual she was hopping all around the nest.

The babies were stretching and scratching. I figured out that more than likely they were getting close to taking flight.

I had to go to work all day and evening. When I came home a while ago I noticed only one baby is in the nest. My husband said both were there early evening.

So, I'm hoping and praying that one baby flew off and the other will do the same as well.

So, I have one more question. Is it normal for one to stay behind? Will mom probably come back to help?

I already lost sleep last night worrying about these babies. I don't want to go another night without sleep!

by: Gene

It's very common for one to leave before the other. It takes a lot of courage to leave the only place you've ever been. Patience.

May 07, 2010
by: Gene

If the young have been in the nest for about 2 weeks then they are ready to leave the nest. (fledge)

It's not unusual for the adults to stop coming to the nest for feedings. This encourages the squabs to go to the adults to be fed.

At this stage, the squabs do not fly well at all and are at their most vulnerable. They may stay on the ground for several days.

At this point I would look for the adults in nearby trees or shrubs but I would not interfere just yet.

May 07, 2010
Momma is gone and her babies are still here
by: Anonymous

I came home from work last night and noticed momma dove was gone around 8:15 last night. I checked every hour even during the night and she is still gone! This morning at 8 am she is still gone. I'm not sure what I need to do. The babies are around 2 weeks old and were getting to be a good size. Anyone know if the mom usually comes back or do I need to take them somewhere? We have enjoyed watching them so much and I'm just really worried about these babies!

May 22, 2009
Momma & babies
by: Anonymous

We have a momma dove in our hanging flower basket. She nested there before we got to plant anything in it. At first, she was very skittish and flew away if startled, revealing two little eggs, but soon, she refused to leave.

We now have a momma with her two little babies living in our front hanging planter. All the momma does is watch us. She never leaves, never gets startled. Our only concern is that we don't know when she leaves to eat, or to get food for her babies. But I'm sure nature tales it's course and she'll take care of them just fine.

Apr 23, 2009
same nesting!
by: Anonymous

I am also watching a Mother Dove who laid her eggs in a very similar hanging basket on my patio in Sacramento. I believe the two eggs hatched a few days ago. We are anxious to see the babies. We do not see the father very often. I am sure he is nearby and brings the food. She never leaves the nest.

Apr 01, 2009
I loved your story!!
by: Anonymous

Wow, Pat...
What a unique experience. How wonderful to have been a part of all that.. and mostly, agreeing to Leave mamma's choice of nesting, right where she picked it. I remembered your story from just recently. How nice to read a follow up!!
How wonderful that all the babies survived and "Flew the coop" !! Good job, Mamma dove. I have a pair too that have a nest high up in my pine tree. Too high for me to observe.. one or the other couple.. is always nearby on my patio, resting there bodies on the warm ledge of our small block enclosure, and warding off any intruder (other birds they feel are a threat) that gets too close. I had a Quail couple try in vane to go back to the same nest they made before, in my planter, under my Rosemary bush... But the Doves would have NO PART of it. Awwww poor Quail. Such is life.
I have never witnessed Doves being so aggressive, guarding their territory!
Like you said... they focus on one thing only.. and that is to stay put and take care of those eggs or babies.. no matter who passes by. Its such a neat thing. They must know, that most people aren't a threat to them.
Maybe they will once again use your hanging planter. I have a pair that are nesting currently on top of our partially enclose air compresser
Cindy, High Desert Mtns. California

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