Baby Mourning Dove

by Khara
(Seabrook, NH, United States)

snuggle buggle

snuggle buggle

I went for a walk and came across a baby Mourning Dove. He was too young to be out of the nest and had a cut on his/her (not sure) leg.

He was peeping very loud at me and trying to get closer to me rather than escape. I had to get him. Brought him home and looked up what kind of bird he/she is.

I am feeding him a mix of kitten food, cooked egg yokes, infant whole wheat cereal, and added a drop of bird vitamins. My method is mix it well to a paste and then add water with each batch to feed him for the day.

I use a straw that his beak fits into perfectly, just enough room to open his mouth. I can't even believe how much he can eat. He really seems to like it and is a very enthusiastic eater.

He pretty much was a eating and pooping machine for the fist week and that was about it. Now he is still that but growing so fast also.

I let him sit on my shoulder often and will wear my bath robe and he nestles perfectly in the V in the front, so that I can walk around outside with him and let him look around.

He really seems to enjoy that. His home in the beginning was a little bowl with paper towels or tissues inside of a bigger bowl that I would fill with water and microwave after every feeding.
(About every 4 hours or just when he had pooped a whole bunch and peeping increased.)

He was happy warm and humidified but dry in his little bowl. He has graduated now to a shoe box filled with paper towels and a water bottle that I nuke for warmth. (I put it under the paper towels.) He likes being out of the box more often now though.

I was in a debate with myself as to whether or not I should keep him. I think I will because of the mortality rate of the first year.

Plus they are not in danger of a low population at all and he seems to like me enough. Peeps at me all the time and seems to say, what cha doin?

When I let him roam around on the table he chases what my hands are doing and he likes to make typing impossible.

I think he likes me a little bit, LOL. So I am leaning towards keeping him at this point. I don't see the harm in keeping him, anyone disagree?

I suppose keeping him could be considered selfish but at the same time I am afraid that letting him go would be like a death sentence because he is accustomed to the good life at this point.

One of my thoughts was a mate. I was thinking of buying another bird once he reaches that age. Do they sell Mourning Doves as pets? Well my BB (baby bird, BB is his street name lol) is doing quite well and getting stronger and prettier every day.

I love the company and hope to keep him. I may do the whole if you love it set him free, and if they love you they will come back thing, but *sigh* part of me doesn't even want to do that. Well wish me luck!

BB n Khara

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Jul 22, 2014
What to do with dead baby dove?
by: Jake

Of the two baby doves in nest on my property, one has died and is starting to smell really bad. I wasn't sure if I should intervene and assumed I shouldn't touch baby or nest.

I read online that the dead one should be removed from nest; however, there is always an adult dove in the nest and I don't want to disturb adults in fear they may not come back and take care of the baby that's still alive.

I haven't done anything and probably won't because my gut's telling me to leave them alone; however, if the dead one is going to have an adverse affect on the one that's alive, then I will remove it.

Confused, but leaving them alone for now. Not sure if it matters, but they made nest about 6' above ground in crepe myrtle.

Jun 20, 2014
Not A Good Idea
by: Anonymous

It is against the law to keep mourning doves as pets. They are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This protection also applies to their nests, eggs, and even their feathers.

No matter how good your intentions are, you are dooming your cute little doves to a brief and unnatural life - even if they survive to adulthood (not a guarantee even when raised by a professional wildlife rehabilitator) they will not survive on their own outside.

Raised by humans, the doves will not be able to recognize their own kind, recognize danger and predators, or find food.

Please do these birds a favor and leave them alone.

Jun 20, 2014
Found 2 Mourning Dove eggs, I need a lil advice.....
by: Anonymous

Hello all,

I found 2 mourning dove eggs that fell from their nest that was on a ledge above my window, so I brought them in and they are incubating right now. BTW, 1 of the eggs had veins since the 4th day so its growing but the other is turning into a brownish color and there are no veins so I think that one is rotting :( It's the 10th day since I brought them in.

I have a couple of questions, I was wandering if it's legal to keep them as pets? If they are, my mom might let me keep it/them (I'm 13).

Another question is, when they hatch they are all wet so am I supposed to dry them off or should I just put them in their heated nest system that I made?

And I read on some sites, that you are supposed to feed them within 4-6 hours after they hatch and other sites that you should wait at least 12 hours and that's a big difference, which one is correct?

I know how and what to feed them when they hatch (I have watched several videos) and have a nest prepared for them, but any tips are always nice :)

Also, I'm home-schooled so I have the time and I am more than willing to take on the responsibility even though it may be tough.

Would like advice from an experienced person only.


Jun 05, 2014
I know this thread is old, but...
by: Professional Naturalist


It's illegal under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to possess virtually ANY native bird -- from hawks and owls to robins and doves. Even when you try to "do the right thing" or you think "it's so cute and helpless" you are in violation of U.S. law.

If you find a baby bird and you KNOW that it is injured, you have only two options:
1. Let nature take its course -- doves in particular breed like rabbits and not every baby bird makes it to adulthood.
2. Take it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area.

If you actually manage to raise these babies to adulthood -- no small feat considering how often baby birds die in our hands from malnutrition, aspirating food, dehydration, hypothermia, and permanent deformities caused by improper diet/housing -- you have doomed them anyway. They will never have the benefit of learning how to recognize danger, find food, or survive in the wild. They will also never find a mate, never raise their own family (and pass on their genes) and they will never be functional wild birds.

Every response on this page, save one, boils down to extremely selfish actions on the human's part. You may say "I was just trying to help!" but what you really mean is "I thought it was cute!" or "I couldn't say no to my child!" or "I just want to have a unique pet!" or "He obviously loves me!" or the really big one: "I can't bear the thought of 'MY' bird leaving!"

No matter how good your intentions are, you will never be a substitute for a proper life in the wild with members of its own species.

So please, for the sake of these birds that you love so much, leave them in the wild where they belong.

May 06, 2013
by: Anonymous

My friend found a baby morning dove one year ago. We call her birdie. She was just inside the house. 2 days ago my friend thought he could teach the dove how to get along in the outside world, welllll the dove got scared of something and flew away. We are so upset, cause we don't know if the dove can survive.

Sep 09, 2012
our baby mourning dove
by: bellebrie

My son and a friend found two mourning doves on the side walk outside my parents house. They brought them in and tried to feed them various things.

The next morning however the smaller of the two had passed away sometime during the night, we suspect.

The other one however is quite strong and healthy. I have been feeding him a mixture of cream of wheat, crushed seeds and budgie gravel.

Birds don't digest food with enzymes and stomach acid the way people do, so the gravel is a very important part of what you feed them.

Just a sprinkle is enough to ensure that any ingested seed will be ground up enough to be pooped out!

Here's hoping that he continues to get stronger, as he has done over the last 3 days!

Aug 24, 2012
My Mom, The Bird Angel :)
by: Chant13

My mother has nursed a few doves back to health, she's my hero! She feeds them as babies and cares for them by mimicking the love of the real momma.

As they get a bit older, she takes them outside to get used to it and one day, they fly off. It's not sad, it's rather victorious! For as long as I can remember, there has always been dove birdseed on her porch, and she swears that her baby doves always return.

Tonight, my husband found a baby dove in need of help and felt compelled to bring it home. It looks like my mom (the Bird Angel) will get to bond with yet another dove.

Aug 30, 2011
by: Sydney

I found a baby mourning dove in my front yard, and I watched it for a while. It wasn't walking right, and all of my neighbors were mowing their lawns so I thought the worst.

I put it in a box with old t shirts on the bottom. I waited to see if I saw any other parent mourning doves, but I haven't seen any mourning doves since. I caught it approx. 24 hours ago.

I called some wild life centers and the closest one to me hasn't called me back. I gave it water and I gave it a mealworm. It was playing with the mealworm, but i'm not sure if it ate it.

My mom won't let me feed it yolk, but it wont eat the seeds I crushed for it. plus, am I allowed to touch it with bare hands or will it give me a disease, or vise versa?

Jul 30, 2011
by: Gene

Sorry Shannon that's not the way it works.

The bird doesn't have to be an endangered species.

All birds except House Sparrows, European Starlings, and Pigeons are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It's illegal to be in possession of wild birds without a license or special permit.

I thought I should clear that up before going any further.

Most of the birds people are finding on the ground are simply birds that have left the nest. Most birds do not fly when leaving the nest. Doves can take a couple of days after leaving the nest before being able to fly very well.


Jul 30, 2011
My baby dove
by: SHannon

Keep him! he/she is not an endangered bird and he/she has now bonded with you - congratulations mom!

I too found a baby dove last night, actually my Westie found it. Mine is fully feathered and bigger than the one you have but still a baby. I have him/her in a shoe box with a soft towel and was feeding a sugar water (homemade hummer food) until I searched and read what you are feeding. He/she is weak but taking small amounts of the mixture so I'll cross my fingers. He/she is so sweet and beautiful. All is can do is keep an eye on him/her and hope for the best. If the dove is still with me on Monday I will take him/her to the office with me to watch and feed throughout the day - one small perk of being self employed!

Jul 24, 2011
Keep him!
by: Kim

Your fortunate little dove has been raised as a domestic, and will be confused--if not in peril in the wild. They are quite intelligent, and can live 7 to 11 years in captivity, while the lifespan of a wild dove is considerably less.


Sorry Kim, but we can't publish the quote without the authors permission. We live in a very litigious society.


Jul 19, 2011
by: F.Oyler

I have been watching and feeding Mourning Doves with 2 baby birds a week old. Both parents were at the nest yesterday when I said goodnight to them, what a beautiful sight. In the morning the nest was empty. There is no way one week old babies could fly. I am terrified that they were taken by an animal. Today one parent was looking at the nest in my yard and I felt so helpless. There must have been something I could have done to keep them safe and I failed. All the bird seed in the world won't help them now. Life is hard sometimes. But they brought me such joy while they were here.

Jul 14, 2011
Baby dove
by: Anonymous

We went on a bike ride and found 2 baby morning doves lying on the street. One was unfortunately deceased, but the other was sitting helpless in the middle of the road. We picked it up with a rubber glove so that our scent was not on it and we put it back in the nest.

I've been watching the nest, but can't see if the mother came back. Can anyone tell me how long I should wait to see if the mother comes back and takes care of the baby?

It's been back in the nest for a few hours and it is dark out now. Wondering when/if I should take it out and start to care for it.

Jul 10, 2011
3 week old baby mourning dove named 'lil dude' :)
by: Anonymous

I found...well a baby mourning dove found me a week ago after a bad thunder storm, in which his/her nest was destroyed.

The parents were around but would only tend to the 1 that was still in the tree and the one I found fell out of the tree on me. I tried to put him back they knocked him out a few times.

I noticed he had an pretty badly injured wing/leg. So I took him in and have been feeding him kitten formula, baby grain cereal, and ground up bird seed, all warmed up a bit not too much (I test it on my arm) out of an eye dropper we got at walmart.

As he grows I add more seed and less liquid, but I let him drink water now on his own a few times a day to avoid dehydration.

He adores us and never having had a bird and hadn't really thought much of them, we have fallen in love with what we call the dove 'lil dude' LOL!

I will try again to release him if his injury heals up (we have no Dove re-hab in Southern Nevada close at all). If he does not heal I will continue to research mourning doves and keep him as part of our animal filled family here.

I was wondering if anyone here has or knows how to care for the mourning dove once it is 3 plus weeks and how to keep him safely in my house and away from our other animals and safe if he does start to fly.

Also where can I get bird vitamins and what kind are best for doves? No pet shop here has or knows anything as Nevada is the dove hunting state :( and what type of seed is best to feed the lil dude.

Thank you for all the wonderful stories! My husband & I really enjoyed reading them and adore our little gift from nature. Em

Jun 30, 2011
My Husband found 2
by: Anonymous

About a month ago my husband came home from work and handed me a box he said to me " I think you will like what you find in here" Well I was surprised when I opened it to find two beautiful baby Mourning Doves (they only had pin feathers on them at the time. roughly 3 to 4 days old).

My husband found them at work the mother was killed and they were alone in the nest and at the construction site the nest needed to be moved so instead of leaving the doves for nature to care for he brought them home to me.

I raised a mourning dove before and was very successful she never left me although I attempted many times to release her. She lived with me for 10+ years.

I fed my two babies whom we named Charity and Chance baby bird formula that you can find at your local pet store and they thrived well on that they are now on seed alone and are very attached to us.

And once again these two we attempted to release and they circled around our yard and returned to our shoulders. We have attempted this at least 5 times already and they just will not leave us.

They will follow me around the house and will peep to me when I pass by them. They are truly a treasure to have with us! They are part of our family now. As they grow I will post more stories of them.

Apr 25, 2011
La Crosse, WI
by: Cliff LeCleir

We incubating 2 morning dove eggs. Now we are wondering what to do if they hatch. Suggestions.

Aug 29, 2010
mourning dove found my husband
by: Anonymous

Hi all, I live in Kissimmiee Florida, my husband went fishing this morning and by the lake a little baby dove flew next to him and didn't move so my husband went closer and it still didn't move. he was able to pick up this mourning dove and drive all the wy home with it on his shoulder.. I have the mourning dove now eating seeds and with water, can you tell me why this mourning dove didn't get scared? and is letting us carry it around...

Jun 03, 2010
baby mourning dove
by: Anonymous

I have a baby mourning dove that is about 2-3 weeks old. He/she is an eating machine. I found that mixing a bit of baby cereal with a little corn meal until it's like pudding works well. Getting him to open his mouth was an issue the first day until I realized he was interested in my fingers. He like to put his beak between my fingers and then open his mouth, and that is my opportunity to put the dropper in his mouth and give a short, quick squirt of food. As for those with weaned birds, mourning doves are seed eaters, not insect eaters. Mix the food with seed as it starts to eat more on its own.

May 14, 2010
I left the baby to nature and he/she was killed
by: Julie

I felt the need to bring in a baby bird I found outside my window - the mother was still landing to feed it though and it was of considerable size (almost adult size) - I left it to nature - it had crawled under my window ledge for the night and seemed as safe as it could be. In the AM I went looking and found it beside the house - actually only the tail & wing feathers were left. I felt awful for days as the mother kept looking for her baby. But I think she was over it before me and the baby did have a closed eye that didn't seem right. Sometimes nature is the most humane. Something went home that night with a meal for it's children.

Apr 18, 2010
Also found one
by: jeremy

My son who is also 7 found an adult mourning dove, or at least that is what we think it is based on the pics that we looked up on the internet. still deciding whether or not we should keep it. It seems to have a bum wing. I was wondering if they can carry any diseases. We live in central tn. and seem to see a lot flying around.

Nov 22, 2009
injured morning dove
by: Anonymous

my 7 year old at the time found 2 birds on the ground we have been taking care of them for about 5 month we thought it was time to let them go because they are big and pretty and we thought that it was time one of the bird dint want to go but the other one flew away and my son cried and cried but i talk to him this happen on friday with the bird and on saturday morning my husband found the bird next to our window and it was linping what can i do?

Sep 27, 2009
wounded bird
by: ricke plourde

I just read about your experience with your baby bird. My husband just came home with a bird that has been hit most likely by a car. He / she was sitting on the side of the road. I believe it is a morning dove, its wing has some broken bones on the upper side and a small wound to the head. But he seems fine otherwise, seems alert and moves around.But can not fly. we are not sure if this could change if he gets a chance to heal?
Any ideas on what to feed him and how he best can heal, would be greatly appreciated.
He is currently snug as a bug in a box with warm blankets and a lamp above to keep him warm.
thank you for any help.

Sep 27, 2009
We found one too!
by: EPS n Helen

My son and I are taking care of a baby bird we had a hard time identifying. Thanks to your site we now know we have a Mourning Dove. He/she is beautiful. I was wondering how you were making out with keeping him. We don't know if we should keep him or let him go after he gets healthy.

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