Doves Abandoned Nest

by Caroline

Doves Abandon Nest

Well, my story begins in late May, or early June 2009… I was doing some gardening near my patio.

baby doves in nest

I decided to take a break & sat down and noticed some twigs on the ground – I thought the wind had blown them onto the patio so I didn't think much more of it.

The next day I went out and happened to look up a few inches and saw many, many twigs piled up on top of the light fixture.

I'm nearly 6 feet tall so this fixture was just slightly higher than eye level.

I was amazed that a bird would try to build a nest in such an awkward place (it's a double security sensor light so it's got a “V” shape in the center) but I've always felt that bird's nests were good luck so I was pleased they chose our light fixture.

The next day I came out & found a Mourning Dove perched on top of that nest and to my amazement she/he just looked at me & barely moved.

I tried to limit my time out on the patio at first so as not to scare them but I couldn't stay off the patio as it is the only way to our backyard.

I did a great deal of research and found that the males and females take turns sitting on the eggs, etc. so I became very aware of their schedule and was lucky enough to see them switching shifts in the a.m. & p.m.

Although I never saw the eggs I knew from my research that in about 2 weeks we'd have some little baby doves.

Sure enough, about 2 weeks later we were so excited to see some activity… most of the time the parents were sitting on the young but within days we could see the 2 tiny babies feeding from the parent's beaks.

It was AMAZING, to say the least, and such a privilege to be so close to them.

I've attached a photo of the babies when they were a bit over a week old.

About 2 weeks after they were born they grew so big that we knew it was going to be the time that they'd leave the nest pretty soon.

It seemed they went from a decent size to huge overnight (they seemed almost as big as their parents!).

At a certain point, the parents would sit on the light fixture because the 2 young ones were overflowing from the nest.

Sure enough one fine Sunday (June 28th to be exact) they flew the coop.

They stayed close enough that I was able to eventually spot them… about 30 feet across the yard under our lemon tree.

They were so cute as they tried to fly!

The Mom and Dad were sitting on the wall very close by and kept watch over them.

One baby got the hang of flying much quicker than the other so Mom, Dad, and baby #1 sat together while baby #2 worked out his coordination under the lemon tree.

The next day they were nowhere to be seen and I hoped they were enjoying their newfound gift of flight!

Not 2 days after they left the nest my husband said, "Hey hon, guess who's back?" I couldn't believe it but there was the Mom (or Dad… I never could tell them apart) sitting on the nest!

The next day the nest was empty (must have caught them between shifts) so I carefully peeked in and saw one egg!

I was so happy but worried when about an hour went by before Mom/Dad came back.

I researched and saw that they knew how long an egg can stay unattended so I was not concerned when that happened several other times during the week.

I also read that they don't always lay their eggs at the same time.

Sure enough on another occasion when they were gone for a while, I peeked in again and saw that there were now 2 eggs.

Fast forward to this weekend… I knew since we were over the 2-week mark that the babies would be arriving soon.

We went about our usual business… saying hello to the Mom and Dad every day (we would have lunch or dinner on the patio and I garden in the evening several times a week so they were quite used to us and we loved them being there).

On Saturday evening I was doing some gardening and one of them was on the nest.

I came back from the other side of the yard and the nest was empty.

No big deal I thought but I found it strange being that we were at the 19-day mark… I peeked in as I was worried that maybe the babies had been born by now but there were still 2 small eggs in the nest.

I saw the Mom or Dad up on the neighbor's roof and so I stayed on the other side of the yard so she/he would go back to the nest.

An hour later she/he was still on the roof.

I thought perhaps I should wrap up my gardening so I put my things away and went into the house.

Peeked out the window now and then… 2, 3, or 4 hours went by, and no Mom or Dad.

Needless to say, I was incredibly sad.

Tried to let it go but the first thing I did when I got up Sunday morning was check outside and still no Mom or Dad.

I know there must be a reason for them to abandon the nest but I'm incredibly sad about it and rather confused as to why they would leave 2 eggs.

If one of the parents was killed (there is a neighborhood cat that I've shooed out of the yard once in a while) would the other parent just abandon the nest?

After 19 days of sitting on the nest is it possible that the eggs were not viable?

Would they not have known that sooner?

Don't mean to sound ignorant… my hubby and I just got attached to these 2 and their first set of babies.

We even named the parents Hansel and Gretel (I know – we’re silly).

My only other experience with birds was last Spring when a Sparrow built her nest in a very high, precarious corbel out front of our house.

The results were disastrous as we went out several times in one week to find a dead baby sparrow that had fallen (or been pushed?) from this 20 ft. high perch.

We buried 3 that were dead by the time we got out there and thought we saved the 4th but he later perished as well. (Named him Jack Sparrow… I know – I probably shouldn’t name the birds – I get so attached even when they don’t have names).

Guess I'm just wondering if anyone could clue me into our Mourning Dove situation and let me know why they would have left these 2 eggs after 19 days.

Also, what should I do in the days ahead with those eggs?

It seems so disrespectful to remove them… any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for this great site/forum – I've learned a great deal!

Best Regards,

birds and blooms magazine cover pioneer woman magazine cover people-magazine cover first for women magazine cover
Birds and Blooms Pioneer Woman People Magazine First For Women

Comments for Doves Abandoned Nest

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Jun 06, 2024
To Wendy
by: Gene

How long is long enough? I suggest until no adult visits the nest for several days. Sometimes it takes a while for a bird to decide if an egg is viable or not.

Parasites or mites may be in the nest making it uncomfortable for the doves to incubate. Although you're a week or two past the expected hatch date.

You've got nothing to lose by waiting.

Jun 06, 2024
How long to wait before removing eggs?
by: Wendy

Any mourning dove experts? Long question…

This is kind of long….

We have a nest on our thru-wall a/c that the doves have been nesting on for a couple of years.

It is somewhat protected as the a/c goes through the wall on our front porch which has walls on 3 sides.

We have a camera …the ‘dovecam’ watching.

2 or 3 years ago a grackle came and ate a baby and pushed the second one off to die. It was so sad.

We took a basket and wedged it into the space between the a/c and ceiling for extra protection and they have been nesting there regularly for the past 2 years. We feel they are very protected.

Now for the problem. Twice this season they have produced eggs.

The first was still during the cold spring (I'm in southern New England).

They sat on the egg for about 2 weeks and then abandoned the nest.

We waited a week or so and removed the egg.

About 2 weeks ago they produced another egg, then another, and finally, we have 3.

It's been at least 3 to 4 weeks since the first egg appeared as we have a camera watching the nest.

This past weekend the adults have started being away from the nest for long periods.

We're thinking they may be abandoning again. I can search the video and see when they come and go.

It's been reasonably warm during the days 80 or so but cooler at night.

Any experts here who can advise on this behavior and whether it's not only normal but can the eggs continue and possibly hat hatch?

How long is long?

Jun 26, 2023
Cleaning out the old dove nest
by: Gene


We usually recommend leaving the nest alone until the end of the season. But, if the doves aren't using it and she finds it unsightly, clean it out.

There is no reason to add nesting material as the doves know what they want.

Jun 26, 2023
Should I clean the nest?
by: @mrs_yufong

My sister bought hanging pots with the intention to grow some flowers. She hung them by the window grill.

After a few days, doves started sitting on one of them (orange pot).

Since then 4 sets of babies have been grown and flown away with one set being stolen but not sure what happened as the babies vanished.

Now the parent doves are sitting on the other pot (blue one).

Yes, the orange pot is dirty, so should the pot be cleaned and fresh twigs be put inside?

Thank you 😊 💓

Apr 26, 2022
Why Do Doves Abandon Young
by: Gene


Most likely you have predators around whether hawks, cats or something else.

Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks are everywhere Doves nest and easily pick off Ground feeding birds like Doves and Robins.

Too much activity around the nest will cause them to stay away too long for the young to survive. If they see a predator they'll stay away from the nest to save the young.

Apr 26, 2022
Abandon Baby Doves
by: Robin

A pair of doves built a nest on top of my double sided patio fence.

Not the first time this nesting spot has been used by doves. I watched them as they incubated their two eggs.

I kept a close eye on them when ever I went out on the patio.

I checked the nest on a Saturday and the two eggs were there still unhatched but when I looked the very next day there were two baby doves in the nest but I never saw the parents.

I kept watch all the next day as well but the parents never returned.

I would look out every time I was at the window but never any activity. I just kept hoping they would return.

When I went out to look this morning (Tuesday) there were two tiny dead bodies. I was so upset. Why would the parents hatch the eggs but then abandon the babies??

I am heartbroken for those babies

Apr 03, 2022
by: Jonna

Every spring I welcome a new dove family to my patio hanging planter. This year was no different.

I have enjoyed sharing my momma & papa dove with my grandchildren… getting them involved in the idea of baby doves hatching and growing strong enough to fly away.

When I would go outside I would always be respectful and keep my distance. I believe they knew I was no threat.

5 days ago my dog was barking out the window towards the patio.

When I looked up I saw a large predatory bird flying away.

Without touching anything, I checked to see that the two eggs were undisturbed. Thankfully. All seemed well.

Papa dove even showed up 4 nights ago for a "changing of the guards" while I was relaxing by the pool.

I felt so honored to witness that moment. 3 days ago I noticed momma dove sitting in her nest, but saw evidence of an attack? Feathers everywhere.

I tried to watch even closer at that point. 2 days ago I returned home to find an abundance of feathers in a circular pattern on my lawn.

It was obvious momma dove was gone. I immediately checked her nest and her two eggs remained untouched.

I've read that many times in these instances the papa dove may take over the incubation and care of the hatchlings.

So far, he is nowhere to be found. She laid her eggs about 10 days ago.

Since her demise it has been around 50 degrees nights and 75-80 degree days.

I haven't touched their nest and have only peeked in on them the two times I mentioned. Can they be saved? What can I do, if anything?

Jun 30, 2021
Your story so like ours.

We had the same problem when a Collared Dove tried to make a nest above our ceiling fan on the terrace.

I felt lets help so I fitted a cardboard box above the fan blades. She laid 2 eggs but only I hatched, By the time the chick had left the nest the mother had laid 2 more eggs.

Again only one hatched but by the time that one left she had laid another 2 more eggs.

This time 2 chicks were born and again when they had just left she laid another 2 which hatched.

Hence over a few months we have watched 6 chicks being born which has been very satisfying.

Now the summer is here we need the fan on, so when it was empty of Doves and eggs, I carefully took it down and fitted it on a new shelter which I fitted to another wall.

This has only just been done, so no idea if any Doves will make use of it.

Jun 19, 2021
Sounds like a perfect hatching home!
by: Anonymous

How very fortunate you are!

The doves have found a secure and hidden place in your yard that predators are unlikely to discover, disturb, or destroy!

There is a good chance you will have the joy of watching them, or their offspring, build a new nest next year and repeat the process.

I had some return to a spot under an asparagus fern on my deck railing, but alas, squirrels or rats destroyed the eggs, and since it was no longer a safe place, they have never returned.

However, I did enjoy two wonderful springs and watching the hatchlings grow up on my deck.

A fond memory I will have forever!
Good luck!

Jun 18, 2021
First Time Dove Caretaker
by: Susan

Wow, I should have read these comments awhile ago! I have a gazebo outside of my sliding glass door.

My nephew hung a "caged" fan at the top.

I recently noticed a nest, then I saw a Mourning Dove on the nest.

I recently learned that the papa dove sits on the nest during the day while the mama dove gets food, and they switch roles at night.

So I had been calling the papa "Mama" for several days, lol!

Never heard a peep from the nestlings, but a few days ago, I saw two "baby" birds for the first time!

Funny, though, they were fully feathered and nearing time to fly.

Because the fan fixture was deep and high (at the center top of the gazebo), they were well hidden until then.

Today, the nest is empty! Happily, there were no bodies or feathers laying around. Happy ending!!!

May 13, 2021
Dove nest in garage
by: Julie

Oh my. What to do? Dove nest in garage on top of garage door opener. Must close door because of working.

When open both come in and out but it's now the work week. What happens when they (if this happens) hatch. How will the babies get fed.

Should zoom try to move it to nearby magnolia bush ( 8 feet) after they hopefully hatch.

The birds fly out when we walk out to get into the car. And cannot get back in. Last night it was over 8 hours not on nest.

I feel so helpless. ??

Aug 07, 2019
Abandoned Dove Nest
by: Anonymous

After seeing Papa Dove all day yesterday in his nest all day. This morning my husband opened front door to find dove feathers on the ground.

Not sure if it was the mother or papa who was attacked. That was at 6:15 am.

I took granddaughters to school and when I came back around 8:00 am I saw Papa or Mama on neighbors house n the then across the street on light pole.

I could hear a bunch of Doves cooing. Not sure if this meant they were Mourning.

I talked to the Dove and told it to come back your eggs need you. I know silly.

But this is the third time they have laid eggs there since our Son passed.

I found this site because I felt the need to do something and read how if one Dove is left that it might not come back.

Four hours went by and nest remained empty. My husband texted me to ask and I told him no doves but that it was on the pole.

So I went to check and thank God, the Dove came back and is back on the eggs.

Just don’t know if it’s mama or papa. The Joy I felt brought tears and a good Feeling. I love Doves so much even have a Tattoo from years ago.

So when my son passed and a Dove made its home under our front eave it has brought Peace to my husband and I.

So don’t give up if you see nest abandoned. I’ve always believed that Birds especially Doves are the eyes from Heaven.

Jul 12, 2019
by: Gene

Don't give up just yet. Sometimes you can't see the young after they hatch.

She may be brooding a young squab without you even knowing. If she is off the nest you may get a peek.

Jul 12, 2019
Does water hurt the dove egg?
by: Kathi

My daughter gave me a beautiful Lantana hanging basket for our backyard deck.

A few weeks later, after returning from a trip, I noticed a dove had built a nest and was sitting on an egg.

The plant looked droopy, so I gave it some water, thinking that it gets rained on at times, so water shouldn't hurt the egg.

Later I looked up "dove's eggs" and read that the shells are thinner than most, and that water could allow the entrance of bacteria into the egg.

I feel just awful now, because it's probably been close to 3 weeks that the doves have been sitting on the egg, and still no baby bird.

Did my trying to keep the plant alive hurt the chances for the baby bird living? So sad. I have since let the plant die.

Hopefully, as I've been reading on this site, another egg, or eggs, will be laid, and I will know now to leave the planter alone.

May 07, 2019
Doves Abandoned Nest
by: Gail and Bob

We live in Washington DC in a row house. My son passed away in January and in March, we noticed two mourning doves building a nest on our doorsill.

I researched the symbolism of a mourning dove and it said it represents peace and safety.

I found so much peace seeing them on the nest each day and night! Two babies were born on April 6th and flew the coop on GOOD FRIDAY, April 19th, WOW WHAT SYMBOLISM!!!

Then on April 22nd, the same two birds started building another nest in the same spot.

They starting sitting on the nest on April 24th and then the mother abandoned the nest on April 30th.

Today is May 7th and one egg is still in the abandoned nest. I see and hear the mother cooing from the trees and I feel her pain.

With deepest sympathy,

Bob and Gail

May 02, 2019
Abandoned dove nest
by: Anonymous

I have had a pair of doves nesting in the garden. They went through 2-3 weeks incubating and I could see them on the nest.

One morning I went out and they were both sitting close to the nest. They chased some magpies away and shortly after that disappeared?

I have seen 1 dove a couple of mornings sit near the nest then fly away :( it’s very sad and I don’t know why?

I have climbed up and had a look into the nest and there are no eggs in the nest at all. Confused?

Apr 23, 2019
Still sitting
by: Anonymous

About 1 or 2 months ago I noticed a dove sitting on the metal ledge of the window in the hallway of my apartment building. 3 floors up (top floor).

After a while I saw the egg but no nest. After a while no egg and she was gone. She came back maybe a week later and again another egg no nest.

The next day I saw her partner bringing twigs and dropping them near and on her. When I checked back later that day....nothing no nest was built.

I thought the original egg fell. After a while she left it again. It was freezing. I touched the egg it was also very cold. Several days went by.

I figured the embryo was no longer alive. I saw what I thought was her on the roof looking down but she didn't come back and sit on it. I didn't know what to do either.

I cut a little cardboard box (very low on the sides) I used velco to keep it sturdy to the metal ledge.

I topped it with coconut liner that I'd used in a planter in the garden. I placed it in the little box and placed the egg on top.

2 days later she was back sitting on the egg. It's about 2 weeks and she is still here sitting. I leave food and water for her and since there is minimal traffic in the hall she is rarely bothered by anyone, except me when I stop to visit daily.

I'm just not sure how long she will sit if the embryo is not alive. I feel bad if I've created a situation that is bad for the bird.

I'm hoping that she laid another egg and maybe she's now sitting on two.

I was wondering if anyone knows how long a mourning dove will sit on an egg before she gives up, and what do I do with the egg if she finally abandons it?

Apr 22, 2019
Abandoned nest-eggs gone
by: Anonymous

Today I was very saddened to discover the doves nest on the shelf near my front door - abandoned with the two eggs gone.

I climbed on a chair to take a good look and it appears one egg - may be crushed - the second not there.

The parents were so friendly, they even flew inside my kitchen door- and remained a while in the kitchen and hall- terrifying me that they were going to smash against a window or wall as they flew about.

What could have happened?
I’ve been reading the posts here, which is helpful but still am puzzled.

Could the weather have hurt the eggs/ chicks?
yesterday in Jerusalem we had unseasonable hail, cold and rain.

Mar 11, 2019
Nests by: Anonymous
by: Chassummer

Don't take the eggs out and bury them after a couple of days. The eggs can be kept for days and weeks before starting incubation.

Although some doves will start sitting after the first egg is laid, older doves wait until the second egg is laid to start sitting so they will hatch at the same time.

Don't get excited if the dove is not sitting on the egg or is standing over the egg not getting it warm. They will sit on it when they are ready.

Really upsetting to learn that you keep removing the eggs and burying them when mum and dad return to the nest. Always let nature takes its course.

Sep 12, 2018
Sharing the happy and the sad
by: Anonymous

Yes it is, Charlie. If I can't experience baby doves being raised on my deck again, the next best thing is reading about others who are enjoying the experience and bringing up good memories--living vicariously through them.

But it does make me sad when others experience the nest/egg abandonment, which brings up memories, too. Sorry this little family didn't work our for you.

Sep 11, 2018
2 eggs abandoned
by: charlie

Same story here..... they left the eggs on Saturday, 3 days ago, after sitting on the eggs for at least 2 weeks. one dove came back and sat next to the nest but not on the eggs, then she/he left... they have not been back.

I am tempted to clear the nest and the eggs, kind of wipe the slate clean so that they will feel free to come back and try again, but want to give it a full week, just in case they come back. I'm pretty sure they won't. I think it's just nature, something happened with those eggs, they aren't viable, or something is wrong, and the doves realized that after 3 weeks if they hadn't hatched, then they need to move on.

Just nature. Very sad, but I'm sure they'll be back... plenty of broods have been raised in that spot, so I'm not giving up. It is SO lovely to find this website and read that others are just as crazy about these wild birds as I am :-)

Aug 04, 2018
so sorry..I understand
by: Anonymous

I came home from vacation to find a dove's nest in the crook of my tall butterfly bush located in a quiet corner near my kitchen window.

I have been very excited and honored to observe the nesting of "mom and dad" while growing more and more attached to them.

Unfortunately, I think I have frightened the doves away after refilling a nearby hummingbird feeder.

I have been crying and so sad. The doves have not been back in 3 days. I do not know what to do. I feel awful.

Jul 31, 2018
by: Sandy

So sorry! I am familiar with the feelings of sadness and regret when the excitement and anticipation of watching them hatch and grow suddenly disappears!

I have a squirrel problem in my trees and on my deck, unfortunately, that have spooked some to leave.

My sincere condolences to you and your wife!

Jul 31, 2018
Abandoned by Harley
by: Tommy Boy

I've been trimming a cherry tree outside the kitchen window near the garage every year now.

4 years ago robins built a nest and come back every spring. It's late July and I'm looking out the window and notice a morning dove investigating the empty nest, it's eye level and about 10 feet away.

To my delight she decides to stay and hang out for a couple of days and I see the mate fly in once.

I informed my wife that we have new tenants and am excited to have a new family to watch being born and grow.

The front door and walkway are very close to the tree and we have a small dog that needs walking daily.

So needless to say I'm very cautious when I pass not to disturb her.

Well about a week goes by and it's a nice evening and I decide to take my Harley Davidson out to a friend's house for dinner.

Not thinking of moma dove in the nest as I started it up in the driveway and left to return a few hours later.

My bike has aftermarket fairly loud pipes like most, the next morning I look for my friend and she is not at home.

A couple of hours later and still an empty nest, I start to worry and then it dawned on me it was my bike that spooked her... it's been two days now and I'm heartbroken.

This afternoon I got the step ladder and climbed to up to look inside. As I climbed up I said a quick prayer not to see abandoned eggs.

But sadly there were two beautiful white ones inside. Today I see on the top of the house a lone dove coo cooing for his mate no doubt.

Feeling sad, and praying she returns but I don't have a good feeling.

Jun 10, 2018
by: Gene

One egg is laid each day until clutch is complete. With Doves, that usually means 1 - 3 eggs. Incubation begins after last egg is laid.

Jun 10, 2018
by: Anonymous

Since Mourning Doves build such terrible nests I thought I would help them out. I buy wicker baskets from Flea Markets, Garage Sales, Re-Sale shops etc. that are Oval or Round in shape.

I tie the baskets into several trees around my yard next to the main trunk about 15 feet or so above the ground.

I throw in a couple small sticks and leaves. The Parents have used 2 of the baskets over the last year.

One basket is being used for the second year in a row. It makes for a much sturdier and safer nest for the Parents and the babies.

I had a Mourning Dove sitting in the one nest for a couple weeks only to leave the egg for more than several hours.

I think 2 squirrels running up and down the tree scared her off. I took the egg out and gave it a burial. 2 days later there is another egg in the basket but no one sitting on it.

It is now almost 3 am and still no one sitting on the nest. In the morning I will remove the egg again and bury it by the other one.

I am going to trim back the trees so the squirrels have to find a different route and hopefully the Doves will breed again. So sad about the little babies.

Another thing, I had sparrows build a nest in my gutter only to have the rain drench the nest so the parents had to abandon it and left 2 eggs.

When I saw that I took the nest and buried it with the eggs. I also covered the gutters so it couldn't happen again.

Bird nests in gutters is not a good thing especially when it rains.

May 26, 2018
The Dove Has Left The Nest
by: Kaye

They built a nest in a small succulent pot on my deck about two weeks ago. She laid one egg...two days later another egg.

Some crows came to visit yesterday squawking and a little bird ran them off!!! Today they were out there again.

I went out there and there were three of them Some type of jay bird I think chased them off again and the dove kept sitting on nest. About two hours later it was gone and there is only one egg.

So I’m thinking maybe a crow nabbed one of them. So I’m saddened to think the doves may abandon totally...?

May 23, 2018
Yes, some eggs are duds
by: Brooklyn Bird Lady

You wrote this post ages ago, but in case others find their way here, just wanted to say that indeed sometimes doves lay "dud" eggs and when they don't hatch after two weeks or so they eventually give up and leave them behind.

Sometimes they simply lay the eggs too early in the season, sometimes there are other reasons, but the birds don't develop in the eggs and thus never hatch.

I've watched doves build nests in a flower pot on my fire escape and behind my office window in Manhattan, and now have a pair that have raised quite a few broods in the space over my front door here in Brooklyn.

I always feel so honored when they come here. The last ones, however, were stolen by a crow, I'm pretty sure.

They have a new egg out now and I hope it survives!

May 23, 2018
As the Beatles Sing
by: Gene

Let It Be.

May 23, 2018
Dove Nest
by: Anonymous

We have noticed Doves on our neighbors roof next door to us in their solar panels. Today, we just discovered that we have a nest & there is a Dove sitting in the nest in our gutter.

We are in a mother/daughter house so the nest is protected on top by our deck upstairs above our Mom's deck below. Should we just leave this nest alone? Any advice is welcomed. Thank you!!

May 17, 2018
Just discovered Dove Nest on my patio
by: Anonymous

We just discovered a dove nest on top of our stereo speaker underneath an awning - we had noticed for a few weeks, birds flying around under our awning, which was unusual.

We never realized that a nest was being built. One day, looking up, there it was, with Mom (or Dad) sitting there and has been now for about a week.

I found this site because I worried / wondered if the dove ever left to eat and drink. Now I know the Mom and Dad take turns!

Very exciting! I am now hooked!

May 16, 2018
Missing eggs
by: Anonymous

After a week or so I saw a dove leave the nest built in our rain gutter with a white object that looked just like an egg. It flew into a larger tree nearby.

A week or so later with no sign of activity I checked the nest and found it empty. I believe they actually relocated the eggs? Anyone else observed this?

Apr 29, 2018
by: Sandy

I am happy for you, and for the doves that returned to the nest!

No doves on my deck beneath the asparagus fern this year, but they hang out at my kitchen window bird feeder regularly, so they must have found a sheltered place next door.

You are in for a treat when the egg hatches and you get to see the little one up close as it huddles with the parents, as they protect it, feed it, and teach it to fly! Precious!!!

Once they find a great spot, they tend to return the next year, so this could be the start of multiple bird families beginning in your garage, a nice, safe, sheltered place!

I had 3 wonderful years, but the squirrels who frequent my deck may have caused them to move on.

I do miss being around them in close proximity, as they got used to me and would just scoot out of the way as I watered my pots! I have lots of pictures of those good 'ole days!

All the best! Enjoy!

Apr 23, 2018
Doves nest in garage :-)
by: Centri

The past 3 days when I walked in my garage doves flew out from the top of the garage and scared the life out of me, every time!

I told my husband and asked why he thought it was happening as I have a fear of birds.

He said there must be a nest and sure enough there was one with 1 egg. But the birds and I scared each other and they didn't come back last night. I felt terrible.

Even though I have an awful fear of birds I couldn't stand the thought of them abandoning their baby.

We live in FL so we close the garage door every night and it was pouring rain so bad we did. I didn't realize my husband kept the garage shut all day because he thought the doves weren't coming back.

When he told me this around 6 pm I freaked and was like OMG, what if they wanted to come back and couldn't.

I immediately made him open it and I started looking at websites like this one to see if they had insight on whether the birds would come back.

45 minutes later momma is back! Happy ending so far :-)

Sep 10, 2017
white dove life span correction!
by: Anonymous

Hi Danielle,
I am glad that it worked out that you could remove the eggs with little trauma for the both of you, it seems!

What I told you about the life span is only partially true! That average life span for white doves IN THE WILD is 1.5 years, however, in captivity it can be 20 years, with the average being 12-15!

Do check with someone in the know about caring for this dove long term. I know a lady who kept several doves in a large cage out in the country, and, of course, needed to clean it regularly.

Breathing in the particles of droppings over time led to a lung disease and she has been on oxygen, carrying a tank on wheels around for several years now while waiting for a lung transplant. She was in her 40's and healthy at the time. Very sad!

I don't want to scare you, but could not fail to mention this, even though you have just the one.

Check it out to be safe. And again, you are a very kind soul to get her healthy and strong again.
Best, Sandy

Sep 08, 2017
Thank you Sandy
by: Anonymous

To my surprise, when I woke up the next morning she was sitting in her dish on top of the egg.

At that moment I was excited that her instincts had kicked in, yet also very sad. I just knew for sure she was going to try to hatch it.

I went over and spoke with her for a little bit and then decided to leave her in peace, except for the two cockatiels in the cage next to hers, it would be relatively quiet.

The little while later, I went in to check on her, she was on her perch again and there were two eggs in the dish.

All that day she wouldn't go near her food dish, so I put another food dish in there for her and left the eggs in there too.

Well, the next day she still wanted nothing to do with those eggs, and she looked at them like they were foreign to her, almost like she was frightened of them.

I think she was wondering why they were still there, so I removed them while I was putting treats in her dish, I was trying to take her mind off it.

I'm glad she wasn't attached.

As for the SPCA, they said they had several doves that they couldn't find homes for and had sent them to a dove rescue place.

I didn't think that was personal enough, so I decided to keep her. Now that I know her life span is only a couple years, I'm glad I made that decision and I know I can give her a good life.

Now if I can just get her, to let me touch her. LOL


Sep 08, 2017
re: unfertilized egg
by: Anonymous

Hi Danielle,
You are very kind indeed!

It seems like an SPCA would have taken the injured dove, even now they might. I think their life span is pretty short, like just 2-3 years. .

You know the egg has not been fertilized, so nothing will come of it. Seems like Hoohoo must know this or she would be sitting on it obsessively and instinctively.

I would remove it after awhile, especially when she shows no interest in it, as I doubt it would upset her.

Very nice of you to help her heal and give her a home!
Take care,

Sep 04, 2017
My Dove is a rescued Java
by: Daniele

Hi everyone, my name is Daniele and I'm in need of advice.

Last spring a neighbor of mine brought me an injured white Java dove, we assumed it was a wedding release because it was in mid May.

The poor thing couldn't fly and had a lot of visible trauma on its underside, with a lot of raw skin was showing.

I brought it in and put it in a cage that I just happened to have. (because I had just released a squirrel rescue)

After a few weeks the dove was doing great.

Well, I couldn't release a pitch white dove back into the wild, it would surely get eaten, and I couldn't find anyone that wanted it, so I ended up with a pet that doesn't like to be held or touched at all, named Hoohoo.

To my surprise, Hoohoo laid an egg in her food dish today, but she has no mate!

First I was shocked , now I am clueless as to what I should do with this egg.

If anyone has some solid advice, I would greatly appreciate it. I know I can't leave it there forever and I would feel like a monster if I take it away from her.

Not that she even seems the least bit attached, she sits on her perch and looks at it, when she's hungry she eats around it.

But . . . what do I do?

Thanks for providing a place to ask questions


Jun 24, 2017
Abandoned nest
by: Anonymous

We had two eggs and one never hatched and the other baby grew and flew away.

I would see them sometimes across my balcony on the roof. After a week we cleaned up the balcony and saw the other egg having all these worms and insects around it probably eating up what's left.

The nest was made over a beach bag I had. We took the bag and threw everything out. I saw one dove (I think it was the baby) looking inside our window through the glass. I'm feeling really bad and sad that they may be looking for the nest.

Do you think that's what it is or are they just visiting?

Jun 11, 2017
by: Gene

Keep in mind Michele (one of my favorite names) the adults will withhold food to encourage the young to leave the nest. If they didn't, the squabs would stay forever.

Jun 11, 2017
Abandoned Nestlings
by: Michele

It is helpful to read these comments, because sometimes nature is heartbreaking. For the third time, mourning doves laid eggs in the hanging planter on our patio.

We've enjoyed watching the nesting and rotation or the sitting adults. It has been a reminder to slow down and breathe.

The eggs hatched about ten days ago. As early as a week ago, the adult dove(s) were absent for long stretches of time. I began doing research on what to do for abandoned nestlings.

It seems there is one person in LA who is helping nurse mourning doves, but the larger organizations are not taking care of doves, moreso marine life and more exotic animals.

The adult dove(s) have not fully abandoned these two nestlings but seem to be returning for only a few hours at a time.

It may be only one bird who is returning, based on size and markings, and not two, but we are not at all certain.

My theories are that (a) one of the birds was killed and that the single dove is unable to provide sufficient solo care for the two nestlings, or (b) the birds know one or more of the nestlings are not viable.

One of the nestlings has had no activity and seems to have bulging black eyes that have not opened.

I peeked into the nest today and was sure the nestlings were not alive but then saw the slightest wing movement. I believe they may be suffering.

As I continue to anthropomorphize the whole situation, when I hear the deep cooing of the adult(s), which seems to have increased yesterday and today, it too sounds like suffering.

After reading several sites, including this page:, it seems that I need to simply leave nature to take its common course, but I do pray for the end of suffering if the birds feel pain or distress.

Jun 11, 2017
To eggs abandoned at 19 days
by: Anonymous

Dear Caroline
It's sweet you named the birds. My experience has been the babies hatch 12 days after eggs appear so 19 days the parents would realize the eggs were not viable.

12 days after babies hatch they leave the nest and parents continue to feed them till 34 days old.

We had the same Doves have 3 sets of hatchlings in a row and watch them assisting the fledglings till independent.

Everything seems to be on 2 week cycles.....2 weeks sitting on 2 eggs then 2 weeks sitting on 2 male one female.
Hope this helps.

Jun 04, 2017
Dove Nest Abandoned
by: Anonymous

We have a dove nest in our backyard. It's in an unusual location- it's on top of a vent. I would see the female sitting and the male going back and forth bringing twigs.

Well, one day this week, she laid an egg. I'm guessing somewhere between Wednesday and Saturday is when she laid it.

Saturday is when I saw it for the first time. I'm disappointed because I haven't seen the doves since I spotted the egg.

I cannot figure out why they would just leave it. There's a mockingbird nest in my front yard and I noticed the mockingbird in the backyard taking notice of the dove's nest.

What I've learned about mockingbirds is that they are very territorial and aggressive. My husband said he saw the mockingbird chasing the dove and he thinks that's why she left it.

I read in another post that they leave and come back. I'm hoping that is the case here because I don't know how to care for it and I'm scared to bother it in case she comes back for it.

May 05, 2017
Abandoned Eggs
by: Sandy

Hi Renee,

That is sad to hear! I really researched the matter after two doves abandoned their two eggs in a nest on my deck. Never knew why.

I found out that if they don't return soon, a day or so, they probably won't come back.

To hatch, I found out that the nesting doves have to keep the eggs at a certain temperature, and also routinely rotate them, so it really is not possible for you to duplicate that and have them hatch.

The only comfort I had is that they were not going to suffer like tiny baby birds waiting for the parents to come back and feed them. So hopefully, you will as well.


May 04, 2017
Cat killed dove parent
by: renee

Saw a dove sitting on nest yesterday. Today, just 50 feathers or more in the grass. We have a neighborhood cat that hunts outdoors. Sad. I felt a few eggs in the nest. What to do? Was it mom or dad killed? Does the other parent take over the nest if one killed? Thank you

Apr 30, 2017
I have felt you loss!
by: Sandy

I am very sorry, Carola! I know how you feel, as I have been through it a few times!

Once with two perfectly abandoned eggs, and then last year finding broken eggs on and below the nest two separate times. I felt such a loss and so sad as well.

I was very fortunate to see two babies grow up on my deck last year.

What a joy it was, however, there was a hawk with it's distinct piercing call that was circling round the neighborhood and would sit in my neighbors tall redwood tree, and I would worry it would see the little doves hiding under my table or between my garden pots, but they grew and flew off.

Saw two a couple weeks ago going in that same nesting corner on my deck, but nothing since, so I am still hoping they will try again there as I have made it as protected as I possibly can.

Doves are SO easy to get attached to--is it because they look so sweet, or because they are loyal and mate for life, or because they are just one of God's creatures, or because 2000 years ago, God's Spirit "descending like a dove" lighted upon Jesus after his baptism.

I wish you the best and hope you see another nest and batch like many of us have.

Apr 29, 2017
Doves nest empty
by: Carola Beck Wingert

We had a precious Dove couple in our Screw Pine in SW Florida. Mom and Dad took care of the nest perfectly.

I checked on them every day and talked to them.
They were at peace. This morning after waiting and waiting for the babies to arrive, the nest is empty and no evidence of any eggs.

I'm so sad and cried.

I love Gods creation and was so happy to have a bird family In our yard. Is it possible that she never had any eggs?

I hope they come back.
Bless you
Carola SW Florida

Apr 17, 2017
One egg in the nest!
by: Anonymous

so my grandmother has over 50 mourning doves and canaries. I notice there was only one egg in the nest not two. So i came back today and still hasn't hatched nor still only one egg. I am starting to worry. Please help!

Apr 09, 2017
baby eggs
by: Anonymous

I don't know what kind of bird laid blue speckle eggs in my azelyia bush by my front door. but I haven't seen a mama sit on the eggs, my husband noticed a bird flying in the bush off an on we have company and they were in and out the house all weekend could that have scared the mama bird from sitting on her eggs.

I love birds I have bird feeders all outside my house I even have 6 hummingbird feeders and they load up all the time to feed I make my own hummingbird food they love it.

Please is there any thing I can do to help these birds hatch if the mother doesn't come back?

Apr 02, 2017
Abandoned Nest After 12 Days
by: Anonymous

A lot of the same story. A year ago, doves made a nest in an empty round bonsai pot on a shelving unit on my back porch. Two new healthy doves resulted.

This year, they came back to same shelving unit but wanted a different shelf.

I moved the cleaned up pot to where they were hanging out and they made their nest in the pot. Two beautiful eggs came in the next two days.

Yesterday was day 13 for the first egg. The nest was empty for 4 hours last evening. This morning one of the parents was on the nest. Now it is empty again. I don't have hope for this brood.

As others have experienced, the doves and I had become BFFs and there didn't seem to be any problem with my going in and out my back door to water, etc.

I'm doing research now to see if I can find an answer. Hoping for a second brood.

Good luck to everyone who has fostered safe zones and companionship to these beautiful birds.

Jul 20, 2016
Hoping they return!
by: Sandy

I am very sorry! I have been attached a few times and been disappointed when the doves abandoned the nest or the eggs were broken.

If they don't return in the next day or so I think they won't. Reading up on it, I learned that the parents turn the eggs every so often and they have to be kept warm--almost impossible to hatch them yourself no matter how much you would like to,

I wrote a year ago July, and was so sad about two abandoned eggs.

This spring they made a nest in the same spot in the corner of my deck, and two different times, I woke to find broken eggs and little feathers indicating a panicked exit from under the asparagus fern. I think the parent dove was surprised by squirrels.

I put a pot to block the squirrels easy entrance to the deck near the nest and made it a smaller "hole" for the doves.

Thought it was the end of this season for eggs, but about 3 weeks ago, while watering, scared the mama dove while watering, saw two eggs, and immediately backed off and waited and watched.

Watched from a little distance as the doves came and went and switched places and was gone for 3 days and returned to see (with binoculars) the baby birds.

Just today, they have left the nest are now on my deck huddled together--so precious.

I have gone through 3 disappointments, and finally a year later, I have baby doves on my deck again.

You may have the same experience and lose some like I did, but hopefully it is a good and safe place for them to nest, and if they don't return this time, you will be able to experience success in the future.

Hope they return, and if not, my sincere condolences---it hurts!!!!

Jul 18, 2016
abandon nest
by: Anonymous

At my house the same thing is happening! The mother has not come back for a couple of days.

Jun 13, 2016
Morning doves
by: Marina

Hi I just read your story. Same thing at my patio. The parents were so calm and felt safe they let me pet them a few times but I didn't want to stress them out.

Two eggs, new babies and they grew up and flew away. Not two weeks later another set of eggs were laid in the same nest. It's been a week now dad and mom taking turns on the eggs.

This is the first time I haven't seen either of them so I peeked and the eggs are still there. Praying these parents come back. Like you I've grown so attached to these beautiful birds .

Mar 29, 2016
my mourning dove birds
by: Anonymous

Hi everyone!

My name is Yoko, and I live in a little town, South Carolina. I have had such a wonderful (and rare!) experience of having not one, but five dove families nesting in my little rose pot out on my tiny veranda (3rd floor), starting last May, 2016.

Total 5 pairs or 10 healthy dove babies grew up with me. They loved watching me garden, changing the water balls for their rose, and my taking photos of them every single day.

This year, a new family has returned 2 months earlier than the last. All was going well as before with mama & papa incubating the eggs, and the first one is almost ready to hatch,

shy of one day, that is today... except, since yesterday, the new downstair neighbor has moved in with very loud dog, and while I was away, my doves must have been scared off with the new residence below... and they have not returned since... leaving the eggs abandoned.

I 'nurse' them and take care of their home as they are my family here (and a single person). So, my heart is aching, and I must take an immediate action to save the eggs, while the situation is still very fresh, and I believe they can be saved.

I'm leaving the nest out for now, checking on them, but I am considering to take them in later in the evening.

Any advice will be very much appreciated. Thank you!

Jul 30, 2015
by: Sandy

Just wanted to say that I know how you feel, and I am so sorry!! Those sweet birds are so easy to get attached to.

I enjoyed watching the process of new babies learning to fly on my deck twice this year, and then the excitement and anticipation of 2 more perfect eggs...and then they were suddenly abandoned for a week.

I don't know why. Finally took the perfect eggs out of the nest and have them in a drawer--I just can't bear to throw them away.

Though I have not seen them come back to the nest, I do love hearing the sounds of several doves in my vicinity, seeing them sitting on my window box with a bird feeder (on the other side of the house) and picking around my back yard--precious!!

Most likely, you will enjoy more as they tend to return to the same nesting place in the spring. But my sincere condolences for now.

Jul 29, 2015
Broken eggs on ground, broken heart
by: Tonya

Hi, I m so sad outside...a few months ago a beautiful pair of Mourning Doves built a nest in our tree near our backyard patio.

This was the first time in nearly 15 years of living here that a nest was built.

I did my research and I (we) LOVED the Momma And Daddy birds. Within a few weeks, we saw the adorable baby bird eating and eventually learned to fly, we were thrilled to see what DEDICATED AND LOVING parents they were and we even named the baby bird.

A few weeks ago, they came back, reinforced their nest and sat patiently just as the first time.

The eggs were due to be hatched any day now. This morning the Momma bird was in the nest...a few hours later I heard the bird fly (the whistling of its wings).

I looked out our kitchen window and the nest was empty and there was a cat below the tree. I shooed it away, thinking it just spooked the Momma bird...after I scared the cat away, I noticed a broken egg on the ground.

The unborn baby bird still inside, I quickly looked in the nest and the other egg was gone.

I cried so hard. I didn't know what to do with the cracked egg. I didn't want to leave it there for that damn cat to come back and eat it.

I waited a while, I didn't see the parents around, so I picked up the broken egg with the developing baby bird, put it in a cloth and brought it inside.

There is of bit of blood and the baby bird is an inch long. The yolk is still in the egg with some blood on it.

Now, an hour later, the Momma and Daddy birds keep landing on our fence, looking at the nest and they are making such a sad Coo.

Should I put the broken egg in the nest? I don't want them to think I took their baby. Please help, I'm so sad and any advice on this is greatly appreciated.

Jul 20, 2015
How long can eggs be left unattended?
by: Anonymous

I have a morning dove nest in a hanging flower basket. The birds have been sitting on the nest day & night but got spooked last night & left for the whole night.

Mama (or Papa) is back this morning. Does anyone know if eggs will be ok? We're in Florida & it was very hot & humid all day and probably in the 70's over night. I hope the eggs are ok!

Jul 02, 2015
should i remove abandoned eggs?
by: Sandy

I live in the midst of a well-developed suburb by The Bay. Although I once saw a hawk swoop down on a frontage road to snatch a squirrel (horrible sight!) haven't seen any in the trees around my neighborhood.

I do see big crows on the wires in my easement, though, but have never seen any confront another bird.

Since its been 3 days, would it be proper to remove the eggs and leave the nest in tact so that another mom can move in like before?

Had no idea that doves typically live only 12-18 months. Made me wonder why I have not never seen a dove carcass in all my years!

Jul 01, 2015
by: Gene

Coopers and Sharp-shinned Hawks capture many doves. This season I've seen the feathers of three doves caught by hawks.

These two hawk species live in cities and towns and are extremely fast at getting prey.

If you've never seen one, don't think they are not around. If you've got mature trees, you probably have one or both species living nearby.

Jul 01, 2015
abandoned eggs
by: Sandy

Read all the comments looking for advice, and am taking solace in the fact that I am not the only one that has experienced sadness with abandoned dove eggs.

Last year I had the most wonderful experience watching 2 doves hatch/raise babies in a nest they built on the corner crossbar of my deck, hidden by an asparagus fern.

After finding a broken egg this year, I increased the square inches of their "condo" by adding a piece of wood to fill in the air space between the 2X4 and the deck after finding a broken egg on the deck.

I was so happy to see another set of babies raised/fed/learning to fly/hanging out as a family just outside my bedroom slider last month.

Then another set of birds, and a single egg, and then the other day noticed 2 eggs, and so happy to look forward to going through it again.

I, too, talked to them throughout the day, watered the pots, and sat and read near them, and they seem to trust me.

And then yesterday morning no bird. No bird this morning as well, with the two intact eggs laying there.

I hear and see several doves throughout the day around my house. They feed from a feeder outside my kitchen in a window box on the other side of the house.

I put it there so that blue jays and squirrels would have no reason to come on my deck and disturb my dove family.

I can not believe they would just abandon those eggs. I am very saddened by this! And now I don't know what to do.

How long do I leave the eggs there, as doves have been using this nest pretty constantly all spring and summer, and I would love to have another opportunity to see more baby birds hanging around my deck learning to fly. It has just been a complete delight!

However, the fact that I have NEVER seen them leave eggs for any period of time before this, signals to me that they are not coming back to them.

My only comfort is that I think that yokes or even unborn baby birds don't suffer. Apparently, I am the only one doing that!

Enjoyed reading all the other posts--as the saying goes, "misery loves company"!

Jun 30, 2015
I'm going thru the same thing
by: Carol

It must be our name! I have 4 eggs sitting in my flower pot. The mother or father after about 20 days flew the coop.

The next day one of them came back. I'm going to call it the mama.

She stayed a few hours & disappeared. It has been 3 days no parents back. I worry about the babies.

Will they hatch when they are ready? Should I cover them? I just want to make sure they can survive if we can do anything to keep them safe.

May 12, 2015
Nest attacked by Blue Jay
by: Name

Their nest is on a 2nd story, no worries from squirrels etc. But a blue jay and crow cruise by ever so often.

Have enjoyed watching 2 eggs, sat on by mom & dad, finally hatched and grew so quickly with parents sharing the feeding & protection.

Today the nest is empty but the babies were no where near able to fly. Will a new parent pair use this same nest or should I discard everything & offer a new home for another pair.?

May 06, 2015
Lesson Learned Never Say Hello to Nesting Doves
by: Name

This morning I made the mistake of going over to check on a dove that has been nesting on my front porch for the past month.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of saying hello to it (it was up high in its nest) and when I said hello I scared it away (and it scared me).

I then checked several times throughout the day and the Dove did not return to its nest. I am now afraid that too much time has passed and that the eggs (which must have been close to hatching) are now no longer viable.

I feel awful and heart broken. I wish that I had never gone over to check on the bird and never opened my mouth to say hello. :(

Thanks for this page, reading the similar stories made me feel better. I now know for the future to just ignore the birds and not to try and say hello. Not sure what I was thinking.

May 03, 2015
dead dove found on nest
by: harold

Help! I had a dove nesting on my patio, well hidden in corner. Today I found two eggs laying several yards away from nest, one was open and one was intact. The dove was still on nest and dead. Any ideas what happened. I will try to incubate the egg.

Apr 24, 2015
Abandoned baby dove
by: Rebecca C.

I am sad after weeks of watching and waiting for the birth of the baby doves that one just died after a few days. He was fully feathered, the other is waiting for Momma, why would she leave and why would the other baby bird die? I want to help her/him but don't know what to do?

Apr 21, 2015
by: Gene

The short answer is, no, the Wrens did not move the eggs.

Predation was most likely the cause. Snakes, Grackles, House Sparrows and others are the main guesses I have.

The Carolina Wren might toss out an egg that doesn't hatch but they do not move eggs to another location to incubate.


Apr 21, 2015
by: Anonymous

This has nothing to do with doves but I had a pair of Carolina wrens nesting by my house and I noticed that there were eggs in the nest yesterday

Today they are gone, any one know what happened, could the birds have move the eggs?

Apr 05, 2015
Disappearing Doves
by: dkwake

April 5, 2015

There have been two eggs and a pair of mourning doves in a hanging flower basket (no flowers) on my second story porch for 15 days.

I know there were two eggs because on the morning of March 21, I went onto the porch and did not realize that a dove was nesting; I got too close, and she flew off.

I looked into the nest and there were two eggs.

My wife and I have checked on the nest, sometimes inhabited by a female and other times by a male, at least daily since then.

This morning, there were no nesting birds (we can see the nest through the panes of glass in the door to the porch).

We did nothing for an hour or so, then went onto the porch to check; no birds and there were still two eggs in the nest.

About two hours later, I checked and the nest was empty — no birds, no eggs.

There are squirrels in my neighborhood but I have not see one even on the railing of the porch. Obviously this experience is no different than other people have reported at this site for years, but it's mysterious nevertheless.

Aug 10, 2014
Two Weeks and Nothing
by: Gene

There is a good chance a predator of some type got the eggs or newly hatched young. Crows, raccoons, snakes and many others attack bird nest.

Aug 09, 2014
Dove with nest
by: Anonymous

A Dove made a nest in a tree close to my house. on my patio. I have watched the nest and Dove for 2 weeks now. I saw the male Dove and female change places.

Now 2 weeks later the nest is empty and no sign of eggs or babies. Would a Dove sit for 2weeks without eggs or the young?

I have read your interesting article and have learned all about Doves. Hope that another specie has not eaten the eggs or babies.

Jul 26, 2014
Abandoned Nest with one egg
by: Anonymous

I am fostering A egg Should I put it with another nest?

Jul 06, 2014
4 dove eggs nested but no birds ?
by: Anonymous

we have 4 eggs nested by doves that come ever year but we noticed there are no birds nesting on them for over a day now? can anyone tell me what happened?

Jun 24, 2014
by: Anonymous

From early on there seemed to be a rivalry between what I assume were two male doves. Nevertheless, two eggs were laid in a hanging basket on my detached garage that had been a successful nesting site last summer.

I only saw the mother relieved two times, but it might have been happening all along and I didn't see.

One evening I was on my back porch and three birds showed up. I realized there was none on the nest. They flew away!

Three days later to my amazement a dove was sitting on the nest again. Next morning, gone was the dove, and the eggs had been pecked into. Very disappointing.

I wonder if the mother was simply abandoned first. Would she have pecked the eggs which may well have succumbed to cool nights alone in the nest?

Jun 05, 2014
baby doves
by: turtledove

I ran across this website looking for information on morning doves and their process of caring for their young. I have two baby morning doves that hatched in my flower pot.

I have enjoyed seeing the mama and papa dove care for their young...but now it's been about two weeks and the parents seem to stay away longer and longer.

I'm wondering when is it that the little baby doves are expected to take their first flight. I get so worried when I don't see one of the parents at the nest sight.

It is taking more time out of my day than I thought I would ever spend watching these adorable birds.

I wish I knew what to expect in the weeks to come.

May 28, 2014
Watch that third egg!
by: Darlene

I had nesting doves and would discover the magical appearance of a third egg in the nest. Then I learned from a friend that Doves normally only lay 2 eggs at a time, and the 3rd one is probably from a Cowbird.

Cowbirds lay their eggs in other birds' nest and leave the raising of the chicks to the "foster" parents. Cow Birds grow faster than Doves and the youngster may even eat the Dove babies, so beware....

From: Wild-Bird-Watching

A couple of points need to be made here. First, it's rare for Cowbirds to lay in Dove nest since Doves are rarely off the nest. It does happen though.

Cowbird nestlings probably wouldn't survive since the crop milk fed the first few days may not keep the Cowbird hatchling alive.

Cowbird nestlings don't eat the young of the host bird. The host nestlings die due to lack of food as the Cowbird gets more and grows at a faster rate.

This usually happens when the host is a smaller species than the Cowbird.

One additional point, Cowbird eggs are speckled and dove eggs are completely white.

May 28, 2014
Unhatched Eggs
by: Anonymous

This is the second year to have mourning doves nest in an artificial hanging plant near my back door. The first year there were two eggs and two babies. This year they have nested twice.

The first time again there were two eggs and two babies. This time there were two eggs initially-- I have a picture of the nest when the doves were gone. Later only one egg hatched.

Then I discovered a third egg about a week later! I was so surprised! There is still only one baby, and it has gotten so big that I'm sure it will be gone soon.

I'm wondering how long the doves will stay on the other two eggs. I do not think they are viable. The mama dove is so calm she lets me pet her.

Daddy does not like me and is very protective of the nest. I have taken numerous pictures and shared them on Facebook with my friends. I am wondering if I should dispose of the other two eggs. Any suggestions?

This has been a wonderful experience. I would post some pictures if I knew how to do it on this website.

May 24, 2014
Eggs gone
by: Anonymous

Same story, different basket. This is the fourth year doves have come back and laid eggs in my hanging basket.

They've been pretty successful each year. Not this time though. 2 days ago, I saw a huge crow squawking and looking down on the dove in the basket.

I yelled at him and he flew away. Everything was ok this morning when I checked on the doves. I checked again and the dove was gone and the eggs were gone.

All that is left is the nest. I hate crows! I'm so sad for the parents and my family.

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

Apr 29, 2014
Hope Stays Alive
by: Yvonne- Oklahoma

This website has become my favorite!! Each time I log on, I get to enjoy the comments other dove lovers have posted and it warms my heart.

So far, still, my Momma Dove, Patience, has not returned to the nest from last spring. I am not giving up hope, though, and won't plant any flowers in that hanging planter.

Is there a particular month in which I should realize that my doves will not be returning there? Comments from others would be appreciated.

Apr 29, 2014
Where did the eggs go?
by: Darlene

I'm sure a predator had the eggs for a meal. It's sad, but that's nature. Survival of the fittest.
Last year I had doves give birth to 3 broods.

Only one brood survived. The second ---the sweet hatchlings--were eaten by crows.

I know this because there were a few dove feathers and one huge crow feather on my patio below the hanging basket where the nest was located (must have been some fight there).

The third attempt--the eggs disappeared with only one chip of an eggshell remaining.

The dove that always chooses my hanging basket for a nest (for the past 3 years), came by again this year.

Took a good look and decided to nest elsewhere.

Can't blame him; obviously the crows have gotten to know his nesting preferences! I even purchased a fake dead crow to hang near the nest (sporadically of course, since crows are very, very smart), but alas, I have no nest to protect this year.

Apr 28, 2014
where'd the eggs go???
by: Anonymous

After watching her sit for two weeks on her two eggs, my husband checked her one afternoon and she was still sitting. An hour later he went back to check again and the dove AND THE EGGS WERE GONE!!! What happened?

Apr 13, 2014
Update from Oklahoma
by: Yvonne-

How delightful it this been to read the stories of others who are so interested in mourning doves!

Last year I wrote about Patience, my Momma dove, and her babies, Fuzzy and Wuzzy. She had built her nest in a hanging flower basket right outside my kitchen window.

She and the Papa made my summer so exciting and I left the hanging basket just as it was last year....but, so far, I have had no return of the doves.

I can hear them cooing in the trees around my house but they have not chosen to return.

Perhaps it is still a little too cool for nesting...I am hoping that is the case. I am still
hopeful that I shall be able to enjoy these beautiful birds and their precious babies.

I felt blessed when they were here.

Apr 13, 2014
One mourning dove mate missing?
by: Erin

I know it's been years since the last post here, but I have a mourning dove nest outside my apartment door on top of a fire extinguisher box.

I'm worried that something happened to one of the pair of birds. There is one that is there every morning and sits there all day on the nest, but yesterday evening and night, there was no sign of anyone sitting on the nest.

While it's warm here during the day (California), it got down to about 54 degrees last night. I'm worried the eggs may have died, especially if the other mate doesn't come back tonight.

Is there anything I could do help keep the eggs warm? There is also a light above the nest that is on all night, would that be a problem?

Jul 28, 2013
Abandoned Nests
by: Anonymous

Well, I too have researched and researched this mystery of Doves abandoning their eggs. Today, it happened as I watched from my window.

The Doves have their nest in my hanging Geranium. I have two planters hanging parallel to each other.

The male was sitting on the nest and the female came by (I assumed to take her turn on the nest, although it was only 2 pm and they usually switch around 7 pm).

The female perched herself on the second Geranium planter while the male was pruning himself while in the nest.

I've noticed that the Dove "sitting" on the nest will make the coo-coo-coo sound prior to the approach of the mate (are they calling to each other, saying it's time for my break?).

This cooing always gets my attention so I am able to see the "changing of the guard."

Suddenly the male flew out of the nest and landed on a nearby rooftop. The female then joined him and they flew away together.

They've been gone for hours now so I am assuming they won't be back since they have never left the eggs alone before.

I have learned that Mourning Doves will abandon a nest if the mite/insect population becomes too intense, and the fact that there was much pruning going on makes me suspicious of this fact.

Once I confirm that indeed the nest has been abandoned, I will spray the planter with 5% Sevin as recommended. Hopefully, they will come back.

Their last nesting---3 weeks ago, ended in tragedy. I found one black Crow feather and many Dove feathers on my patio floor.

The planter and nest inside was undisturbed; however, the eggs were completely gone---not even a piece of shell remained.

Last year during one of their nestings (if they're the same Doves) they abandoned one of their nests, and once I realized they weren't coming back, I removed the eggs, then suddenly the Doves appeared and looked at me as if to say, "Well, it's about time you got rid of that."

The next day there was a brand new nest with 2 more eggs which eventually hatched and flew away.

It is truly fun watching Mourning Doves, but then it is heartbreaking, too.

Jun 10, 2013
Patience, The Mourning Dove
by: Yvonne

I just searched the internet to get the question of what to do about an abandoned dove egg also. This spring I had a Momma Dove make her nest in a hanging flower pot right outside my kitchen window.

I named her "Patience" as she would sit, hour after hour, calmly covering her precious two little eggs. I would, also, walk out on the deck and it never seemed to disturb her.

One night we had a wind/rain storm and I was worried about her; by this time there were two little fluffy babies in the nest (I named Fuzzy and Wuzzy)when I looked out my window I saw that both the Momma and Papa doves were sitting in the nest to protect their brood.

Finally the babies must have flown as the nest was abandoned; then a few days later she was back, to my delight. She laid one egg and then I have not seen her since (over a week now) so I, too, am worried about that abandoned dove egg!

I hope nothing has happened to her and that she, indeed does return as she has brought me so much pleasure.

May 22, 2013
My Mourning Dove story
by: Anonymous

I am relieved to read that others have been confused by the mourning dove habits of simply deserting their eggs. Our mourning dove nest had two lovely white eggs and the parent(s) were around a lot.

Then suddenly they just stopped returning to the nest - though we had made certain that the area was quiet and undisturbed by our front door (we had a big sign up asking friends to come to the side door).

Anyway -- this morning the nest was on the ground and the two eggs were just lying there - cracked and gray.

I knew that the babies were no longer viable, so I peeked into one of the eggs -- and started to cry seeing the tiny feet so nicely formed and yet so completely dead.

Really a heart-cracking sight. I do hope we have a more successful dove birthing around our home in the future.

For now, feeling heart broken over these babies and perplexed about their abandonment.

Jul 12, 2010
my doves
by: Audrey

Whilst watering my front garden Darling flew out of the tree, the tree is not very large, when I looked I notice the nest, she has been sitting on the nest for nearly 2 weeks, and yesterday we had a lot of rain, I was so frightened that Darling might have left the nest.

But looking this morning she is still there. I also have a cat, and making sure that she does not go in the front garden. I think this a beautiful.

Do you know once we had a family of Jenny Wrens nesting in one of my hanging baskets. I am 74 years of age, and can not get over the wonder of nature.

Jun 07, 2010
Why my nest is abandoned
by: Anonymous

In the past several springs, doves have made their nest in the same flower pot on my baker's rack outdoors. There must have been 3 new families born each spring.

This year the mom and dad doves were taking turns sitting on their eggs on two different occasions now. And both times, no babies were born, and no sign of any eggs in the nest after the mom and dad abandoned it.

Well, for a third time, a mom and dad came to lay their eggs in the flower pot nest. And this morning I woke up to the sound of crows cawing. I went into my yard and there were about 8 crows looking and sounding pretty cocky.

A dove wasn't sitting on the flower pot nest. I waited a while, but no mom or dad returned. I looked in the nest and found one egg (pretty large for those little birds!). The egg was intact.

I imagine the parents were scared off by the crows and won't be coming back. They probably figure their baby(ies) aren't there anymore, or it is too dangerous a place to nurture their babies, so why bother.

I put one of those plastic milk bottles full of water out on a table by the nest. I remembered my gardener told me that kept the cats away, I thought I'd see if it keeps the crows away.

If no mom or dad comes back, I'll move the pot so future doves don't think it's an attractive place for a nest.

Seeing those crows explains why I hadn't seen any sign of eggs or babies after the mom and dad flew away from the nest.

All these years I've really enjoyed watching nature take place outside my door in the spring, but it's sad to know the parents worked so hard to prepare the nest and nurture their babies, and all along the crow gang is waiting to pounce.

Aug 28, 2009
Rosebud update
by: Anonymous

I did not want to give up any glimmer of hope that Rosebud would return, however it has now been well over 24 hours so I suppose the nest is truly abandoned.

I got on a step stool so I could see the two white eggs....that was sad. I will wait a couple of days, but I am wondering if I should remove the whole nest or just the eggs. Does anyone have advice? Thanks.

Aug 27, 2009
Egg still there
by: Phyllis

There is still an egg on the fire escape since the beginning of the summer. The parents left it and it is still there.

Oddly enough, I still hear mourning doves occasionally from my window, but when I look out, I don't see any.

Today I looked out the window when I saw a flurry of a bird and did see a mourning dove on the roof, but I haven't seen any by the flower pot where the abandoned egg is.

The apartment that is there is now vacant too. I have seen workmen in the apartment. Maybe when new tenants move in, the mourning doves will return and start another nest. At least I'm hoping.

Aug 27, 2009
by: Anonymous

I can very much relate to Caroline. My story is much the same. I don't know much about doves, other than I love to see them and enjoy their soothing, cooing voices.

Last month, we had a pair build a nest in an ornamental tree just outside of our front door. We have a small courtyard garden where our cat, Boo, has restricted, yet supervised, access to the great outdoors.

Despite all of this the birds chose to build their home in our yard. When Boo got too close, they somehow trusted us to keep her away. We really enjoyed watching them each day.

I could see the nesting bird from the kitchen window, and every morning I would take a peek. Later, when walking by outside, I would softly coo, and mother/father? bird seemed to understand I meant no harm.

I too had no idea that there was a female/male rotation at the nest. When the two babies hatched it was exciting to watch them develop. One day they just disappeared.

We did not see them get flying lessons. I'm sure they made sure that Boo was no where in the yard. We grew quite attached to them after all that time and were shocked to find that they returned about two weeks later to the old nest!

It was at this time I decided the mother should have a name. I called her Rosebud because her chest has a rose blush to it. Who knows, maybe Rosebud was the male!

All I know for sure is that we have 2 eggs in the nest right now, with no parent around. It is around 1:30PM and 96 degrees out!

Yesterday afternoon I noticed the nest was unattended but wasn't concerned until morning. I have seen the nest vacant for short periods of time, but never this long.

I am still hoping for a miracle that they will return to the nest.

Jul 29, 2009
Beware of nest on light fixtures
by: Anonymous

Just to let you know. If you have a nest at a light around your house. You may want to kill the power. Some homes have burned to the ground because of this.

Jul 26, 2009
Reply to Anonymous
by: Caroline

Hi there to the poster with the nest on top of the garage door! I feel for nest is on a light outside of our patio so it did not hinder getting in or out of the house/garage.

It's been over a week now & in my case since it's not hindered our comings or goings, I have chosen to leave the nest & eggs where they are.

The Mom & Dad hung out in the vicinity that last night before they abandoned the nest. It seemed to me that they were conferring about the situation and perhaps "discussing" the fact that the eggs were not viable.

(I may have an overactive imagination but honestly it seemed that way...for them to hover nearby seemed to me that the decision was not made lightly by them).

To their credit they spent 19 days on that particular set of eggs & I really think they did an amazing job.

I'm so grateful I got to see them successfully hatch the first brood & see the go from helpless babies, to large fluffy "toddlers" & then finally see them fly the coop...they are amazing creatures & I felt very blessed to witness such beauty up close & personal.

There has been zero activity near the nest since 8 days ago, so today I actually stood on a chair to look more closely inside & I even touched the 2 little eggs. They are so pretty.

I will leave them there indefinitely as I can not bear to throw them away :( Good luck with whatever decision you make on your garage nest...if it has been abandoned (which after the amount of time you noted, it seems likely) then I would certainly understand your need to move it.

Best Wishes,

Jul 22, 2009
Similar Situation...
by: Anonymous

I was thrilled to find your story today, as I was researching my abandoned nest situation. It seems common for Doves to abandon nests, and they, unlike most birds, are supposed to incubate eggs continually.

"My" doves decided to nest on top of the garage door opener-just a few days ago, making use of the garage difficult.

Looking in the nest, there is one egg that was constantly incubated until today. I am not aware of any "traumatic" event that may have scared the parents, or predators in my garage- they haven't been seen all day.

Although they seem to have left the nest (no bird near for 8 hours), they are still around my home and I am unsure of when/what to do with the eggs? Any help would be appreciated!

Jul 22, 2009
Parents / Family
by: Phyllis

I think the same parents can have 3 or 4 families, so it's possible it is the same parents. Mourning doves live about one to one and a half years on average, I believe.

Jul 22, 2009
Thank You!
by: Caroline

Thanks Phyllis! I appreciate your kind's very dismaying to see those 2 little eggs in the nest every time I got outside. One of those mysteries of nature I suppose.

Thanks also to Cynthia...I had never entertained the idea that it could have been different parents than the last set. It would seem odd since it's an out of the way place & they laid 2 new eggs just 2 days after the first brood flew off. It's hard to tell doves apart so I couldn't say for sure.

I will leave the eggs in the nest for the time being. Would love for the Mom & Dad to come back and have more babies in that nest but with those 2 eggs sitting there it doesn't seem likely that that will happen.

Glad I'm not the only one who names the birds :)

Appreciate the kind thoughts & comments!
Best Wishes,

Jul 21, 2009
mourning doves
by: Cynthia

Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I don't think you are at all silly for naming 'your' birds.

I know how you get attached, as I'm watching a wren nest in my bird feeder which should begin hatching in a few days.

The internet is wonderful for helping us find out information about our backyard birds! I'm afraid I don't have any idea what to tell you about the abandoned eggs.

Is it possible that the 2nd nesting was a different pair of doves? That doesn't explain the abandoned eggs, but I just wondered if you had considered that possibility.

I hear my little wren singing, so I may go out and see if I can get a picture of the 6 eggs. I try not to disturb her too often.

I think I'd just leave the eggs and let nature take its course, with whatever happens.

Jul 21, 2009
Lovely story.
by: Phyllis

I loved your story, especially since there is still an egg that is in a nest across the shaft way on a 6th floor fire escape.

The parents finally left after it was clear that there would be no baby dove hatching from the egg.

We had a feeling that this one was different. The parents weren't as attentive, it seemed, as the last parents.

I also wonder about unhatched eggs.

There have been several others that were successful (posted here--see Benny and Penny). I always name them too--love Hansel and Gretel. Great photo!

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