Do Mourning Doves Mourn the Loss of Their Baby

by Carey Osoway
( Fulton, MO )

I awoke in the early morning to find that a bird had made a nest in my pine tree near my deck.

I could only think of previous years when this had happened, and we ended up with baby birds needing help that had fallen from their nest.

2 doves sitting in a tree

Dove Pair Mourning Loss of Baby

I really wished this Momma had chosen a different spot because I hate losing babies which seems to happen every year.

Well, as I had predicted, Momma was on her nest for weeks when the one and only baby and nest ended up on the ground.

We had extremely high winds, and a tornado warning prompting the nest to fall.

The baby didn't make it and I thought that would be the end of it.

I saw Momma in the exact spot of the nest that had fallen, and she and her mate took turns sitting there for what seemed like weeks.

I never saw them switch spots, so I didn't know there were two adults yet.

Needless to say, I couldn't understand why she was sitting in the spot of the nest when there was no baby anymore.

Do Mourning Doves Actually Mourn?

For the last few days, the two paired birds have since been sitting on the branch above where the nest was just sitting there looking sad as can be for the entire day.

I walked out yesterday afternoon and after a half-day sit, they were gone. I cried.

I woke today to see them both back sitting there.

I don't know why they are both still sitting there, but it seems sad to think my Mourning Doves can't seem to get over the loss of their baby and are sitting in a vigil, unable to move on.

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