My First Mourning Dove Nest

by Jo Ellen
(Central PA)

I discovered my first Mourning Dove nest just yesterday.

I hung a new petunia and then had to go out of town for 2 days.

dove in nest of petunias in a hanging planter

Dove Nesting in Petunia Hanging Planter

When I came back, I went to water it and a dove flew out! I knew there had to be eggs, I am so excited!!

We survived our first windy day today.

I nervously watched the plant spin in circles, whipping every which way.

I thought maybe I should move it in closer to the house but I remember trying that with wrens a couple of summers ago and mom was NOT happy.

So I decided just to leave it be ... and they are fine.

I saw Mom and Dad change shifts this evening.

Daddy Dove is so much more skittish than Mom. I can barely move anywhere in the area and he flies away.

Mom is very calm. I can take pictures, get up close to her, and talk to her, she doesn't seem to mind at all.

I even swept the porch underneath her and she stayed in the nest. I hope I can get Dad to trust me more.

If I have my days right, we should have baby doves somewhere between May 20-22.

I am so hoping this is a successful nesting experience, I would love for them to come back ... again and again.

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Comments for My First Mourning Dove Nest

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May 10, 2019
Baby doves returning to nest
by: Anonymous

Question cuz these newbies that aren't my usual pair for 5 years at least...I call these guy hijackers lol.

So baby doves flew away 3 days I see one back in the nest and parents still feeding.

Is this normal, as I haven't really seen them get fed, I have seen them come back tho.

May 10, 2019
Living close to doves
by: Laurie

I too have had doves on my patio for years. The last 5 yrs, I've had the same doves come back...funny but I know my doves and they know me.

They have flown in my house, or just walked in with their baby.

This year hijackers took their nest and my doves nested in the orange tree.

My husband not knowing shook the tree for oranges on top. So MY doves egg fell out and now they are gone.

Yes I went up to the dove in the tree...never frightened of me. I knew it was them.

Apr 20, 2014
My Dove Experience
by: Anonymous

April 2014. It's lovely to find this site about people's experiences with doves. For years, doves have nested in our small garden.

Regarding comments about how you save your hanging baskets once a mommy dove has selected it for nesting? I select two baskets that they can have.

I can always replace plants/flowers. The others are made obstructive by putting in plastic bottles.

The two baskets I select are baskets that the doves had chosen several times before so I know they like the location.

This is working beautifully because I get several nesting each season. One year 12 babies were hatched!

I get so much enjoyment from beginning to end of the process.

Right this very minute, two babies are huddled together in the dirt not quite ready to take flight forever.

Of course, mommy and daddy are never far away and check with them periodically during the day to feed and reassure them that all is well!

PS, I also get hummingbirds nesting. How lucky I am!

Jun 03, 2010
To water or not to water
by: Anonymous

I struggled with this too! I didn't want to harm the birds but also didn't want the plant to fall away and leave the nest exposed.

What I did was water just enough to keep the plant alive and only on the side furthest from the eggs/babies.

I also watered slowly so the water wouldn't pool on the surface. Slowly, just a little bit and not often.

Jun 03, 2010
Question about Plant & Doves
by: Anonymous


I have a similar experience as yours.

I just noticed mourning doves building a nest in our petunia plant this morning. There are no eggs yet.

What did you do about the plant as the birds are nesting?

Do you continue to water in? I'm confused about what to do.

Thank you!

May 28, 2010
Yay for your mourning dove nest!
by: Anonymous

Carmelle, thank you so much for viewing my pictures and my story here. And you have your own mourning dove nest -- such an amazing and wonderful thing to watch.

I can relate to the parent doves being skittish at first but then relaxing after awhile.

I like your idea of building a nest place for them, I'll have to try that myself.

I was just outside this evening watching a group of nine mourning doves in my backyard.

I like to think Affy and Appy were among them.

Good luck with your nest :)


May 28, 2010
Where wrens won't dwell.
by: Carmelle J. in TN

I was so happy to see your story of the doves.

We have moved into this condo recently and we have a nice little patio that I thought could accommodate a nest for wrens since I had a previous experience with wrens nesting in a basket placed under the eaves.

I placed a bracket on a shelf under the arbor and waited to see who would be interested.

Wrens looked at it for a couple of weeks but then doves came over and soon enough were nesting in my shallow basket.

We have two babies that are now half the size of the parents and we are watching them feed.

The parents were skittish at first but now we check on them and take pictures and there seems to be no tension in them.

I'm not equipped to post pictures but I thought I'd share my story too.

Your pictures are fabulous.

Oct 31, 2009
by: Paige

Amazing how you got all those great shots (and the plant looks nice too!) I wonder if mom just came back for ol' times sake.

Jun 17, 2009
A peacefull thing to watch
by: Johnni

Great job. Must have been rewarding watching this wonderful thing happen.

Jun 07, 2009
Appy's Story
by: Jo Ellen

Appy spent two days in the nest alone after Affy flew out.

His first day alone, the day Affy flew out, Mom & Dad would fly in frequently to feed him and check on him, but they never stayed long.

Mom did stay the night with him the first night, I was so happy to see this.

The next day, his second day alone in the nest, Mom & Dad stayed gone longer, for many hours at a time but they were close, I could hear them cooing.

I watched him all day, I could see he was thinking about flying but he wasn't quite ready yet.

Mom & Dad would fly in and fly right back out. Many times they would do this -- I got the impression this was their way of coaxing him to fly.

And Mom didn't come to spend the night with him the second night, he stayed in the nest all night by himself. I was so worried about him ... silly me :)

I checked on him this morning as soon as I got up. He was standing at the very edge of the nest looking out.

Here is Appy just before he flew. What a joy it was to watch him this morning!

He flew across the street, back to our yard, over to my car ... and then he disappeared. Funny how they do that :)

Here is my last video. This is Appy just before he flew...

Happy Landing

So now I have an empty nest. I'm both sad and happy. The eggs survived, the baby doves grew into beautiful birds, and now they fly.

I will miss them so much but how wonderful it has been to be able to see this amazing process unfold.

I've learned so much about the mourning dove with this experience. They are by far my favorite bird.

Everything I do in my yard now for birds will be for mourning doves first. I look for Affy and Appy everyday and wonder how they are.

Mom & Dad came back to visit today. They walked around on my porch for a bit and then flew off.

Then this evening Mom flew into the nest! She only stayed for a minute but I wondered ... will they be back?

I hope so...

Jun 06, 2009
Day 15 - Affy
by: Jo Ellen

Affy flew out of the nest right on schedule, at 15 days.

It happened so fast, it was as though she'd been flying for years.

I went to look for her to see if I could find her but she disappeared. I haven't seen her since.

I go outside and sit in my car to see if Mom & Dad will let me know, but they're not telling ;)

Affy flying out did not happen the way I've read it's supposed to.

I thought that Mom & Dad would leave the nest, the babies would get hungry, and then venture out on their own in search of food.

Actually, Mom & Dad were IN the nest when Affy flew out and she'd just been fed. She wanted to fly, it was a wonderful sight :)

Appy has a different story, it was fascinating to watch!

Jun 03, 2009
Day 13 & 14
by: Jo Ellen

Wow again! What a busy day!!

Mom and Dad were coming and going, sometimes both being out of the nest at the same time, babies flapping their wings and teetering on the edge.

I was sure today was the day but they're still here :) Probably tomorrow, I would bet money.

And I finally got a feeding video. They would never let me watch before, as soon as they saw me they would stop so I quit trying.

Not sure why today was different but I did notice that when Dad flew off the nest, he flew toward me, not away from me.

What truly amazes me about these babies is how complex and intricate their wing feathers have become, in 2 short weeks.

Truly a miracle of nature. Beautiful birds :)

Jun 02, 2009
Day 12 & 13
by: Jo Ellen

Babies are still in the nest today and Mom is there too. Maybe tomorrow is the big day?

Affy is paying more attention to what's outside the nest. Appy is still staying very close to Mom and Dad.

And Affy stood up today! She was so cute, very wobbly still. And I noticed the claws on her feet. Their feathers are so intricate, so beautiful.

It's mostly all about Affy today, she is totally hogging the viewing area LOL

Jun 01, 2009
Day 11 & 12
by: Jo Ellen

Wow! Amazing what a difference a day can make.

Affy, the oldest, is spending a lot of her time looking outside the nest today.

Any day now, Mom and Dad will leave the nest and their babies will fly.

I'm sad and excited and elated all at the same time.

Mom and Dad ... Dad is in the back. He is so lovely.

And a video of Affy, quite a transformation from the tiny fragile baby she was just a short time ago.

I'm a Big Girl Now

May 31, 2009
Day 10 & 11
by: Jo Ellen

Thank you, Gene! That is the big question, will Mom and Dad come back ... I hope my picture-taking hasn't been too intrusive. I do try to be sensitive.

The nest is much quieter today than yesterday and Mom is on the nest. Dad must have had something to do ;)

I'm getting nervous as the big day approaches. Will I see them fly? Will I see them again? Will they be safe?

May 30, 2009
Dove Videos
by: Gene

Outstanding Dove videos Jo Ellen. Your commitment to this family of Doves really shows.

This will be a great place to visit this winter when I'm longing for warm bird nesting times.

I wonder if they'll nest again for you.

May 30, 2009
Day 9 & 10
by: Jo Ellen

The nest is very busy today!

The babies are spreading their wings and preening. Daddy is very busy too, looking after them.

It won't be long now and the babies will be on their way :)

Here is Affy, the oldest...

Affys a big girl now

Appy, the younger dove, spreads his wings.

He's not as active yet as his big sister but he's getting there!

Appy spreads his wings

Affy is definitely getting ready to fly, she's very busy today!

I can fly

May 29, 2009
Day 8 & 9
by: Jo Ellen

The babies are getting so big!

I thought it would be easier to get pictures as the babies got older but it's quite the opposite.

Mom and Dad are so protective now -- neither will fly off the nest.

We had torrential rains last night. I was so glad the dove nest has cover, they stayed dry.

I know of one nest out in the open at the back of my yard, I worried about that one all day today, wondering how it fared.

I checked this evening and all is well. I have a new appreciation for birds :)

And the babies have made their first movie...

Appy Turns Around

May 28, 2009
Day 7 & 8
by: Jo Ellen

Very interesting this evening trying to get pictures of the babies.

I had to go into the office so missed Daddy's shift ... he's much better with the photo ops!

I noticed something this evening that I haven't seen before.

Mom puffs herself up to cover her babies, to protect them.

It's really amazing to see how much bigger she can make herself, she's such a good Mommy :)

May 27, 2009
Day 6 & 7
by: Jo Ellen

Babies are getting big! Feathers are coming in and they have the cutest little wings.

I can see them moving around in the nest now.

Daddy is very busy feeding them during the day but every time I try to get a picture, he stops and covers them up.

I'll keep trying. But today he did not fly off the nest when I took this first picture.

May 26, 2009
Changing Shifts
by: Jo Ellen

I watched Mom and Dad change shifts this morning around 10 AM.

So Mom is on the nest from about 5 pm until 10 AM. Moms always get the longer shift :)

Dad is moving around in the nest a lot today ... I think that means the babies are becoming more active.

May 24, 2009
Day 3 and 4
by: Jo Ellen

I could see both of them breathing, they are doing great!

I bet the one that's not sitting up is the younger one. I wonder if they will both be sitting up tomorrow?

Daddy came back in a flash, he was back on the nest before I could get inside and look out my window. Good Daddy :)

May 23, 2009
Baby Mourning Doves are Here!
by: Jo Ellen

The baby doves have hatched! They are 2 and 3 days old today, growing every day and looking more like birds!

Mom and Dad are so dedicated, it's wonderful to see.

Mom will not fly off the nest even if I get close to her but it's easier to get pictures when Dad is on the nest -- he's always been more skittish.

I haven't yet seen them feeding ... when do they eat, in the middle of the night? Or maybe Mom and Dad feed them under their wings so I can't see?

I think in a couple more days, I'll be able to see more.

Today we had a severe thunderstorm move through.

Thankfully it went mostly North of us but I was so worried about the winds.

I ran out afterward and got another plant, a heavy one, to shield them from the wind as much as possible.

I would be so heartbroken to lose them now.

I am enjoying every day I have with these beautiful peaceful birds.

May 19, 2009
Yay for mourning doves
by: Jo Ellen

They are the sweetest, calmest birds I've ever been around.

I watered my plant this evening and mom didn't even flinch, she just watched me.

I watered only one side of the plant, furthest from the eggs, just enough to keep the plant alive.

I'm sure the doves prefer a live plant over a dead one ... and a live plant definitely provides more protection.

It's still very calm in the nest but any day now the eggs should hatch. I believe today is Day 14 so tomorrow or Thursday. My camera is ready!

I feel so privileged to be a part of this. I love these birds ... and I hope they come back.

They are always welcome on my front porch :)

I hope the best for your nest too ... it's definitely not a worry-free experience, is it. :)

May 19, 2009
Also my first mrourning dove nest!
by: Anonymous

I also have doves nesting in a hanging plant on my apartment balcony!

It's right in front of a set of french doors that go outside, so I can sit and watch them all the time.

They get a little nervous when I get too close, but they seem to be getting used to me.

I think it should be another few days before the eggs hatch!

The only thing I'm worried about is my plant dying because I can't water it!

May 17, 2009
Meet Daddy D
by: Jo Ellen

The mourning dove nest is doing great! Daddy Dove is getting more comfortable with me being near.

I was able to take his picture this afternoon.

I can't tell the difference between Mom and Dad, I just know Dad's on the nest during the day, and Mom has the nights.

Babies are due sometime next week, I'm guessing Wednesday or Thursday.

May 10, 2009
Worrisome night
by: Jo Ellen

We had high winds last night, I didn't sleep very well. I wanted so badly to move the plant closer in but I knew I needed to leave well enough alone.

I got up several times when the gusts were really high to check and make sure everything was still okay.

But everything is good today. Dad is right where he needs to be and I'm taking a nap :)

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