Rescuing and Raising Our Mourning Dove: A Surprising Journey

by Anna
(New Plymouth, Idaho, USA)

We found our mourning dove when she was just a nestling and had fallen out of her nest at the golf course.

baby dove sitting on my arm

I wasn't sure what it was when I spotted a lump in the grass.

At first, I thought it was a pine cone but on closer inspection, I saw it was a baby mourning dove.

It was cold and rainy so I decided to put it near the base of the tree from which she had fallen hoping maybe the mom would continue to feed her.

Bringing Her Home

We didn't play golf the next day because of the weather but the next day we went out and I checked and the little dove was still there.

There was no poo near her so I knew momma was not feeding her so we took her home. We read up on what and how to feed her.

We have a small ranch so feeding animals is nothing new to us.

We were nervous about releasing her because we have lots of cats so we just let her fly around the house.

We spoiled her letting her eat whatever she wanted. Her favorite was chewed-up sunflower seeds and jellybeans.

She has become part of the family! 8 months later, springtime and mating season.

Returning to the Wild

mourning dove inside our house

We decided it was probably time to let her go live with her kind, find a mate, and have babies.

She was so scared the first day, she never left my husband's head.

The next day she jumped on a tree branch and watched the other birds and could hear the mourning doves down the field near a small pond.

The following day, she decided to fly down toward the pond. We thought that was the last time we would see her.

We were sad but also knew it would be better for her and us because we'd been taking her on our road trips. She's been everywhere. lol.

Believe it or not, right before dusk we went outside and here she came and landed on my husband's head.

We laughed so hard. She had come home to roost.

Every day we let her out, she flies around for a bit and when she is ready she sits in the tree in the front yard and waits for us to open the door then she flies in, eats her supper, and goes to bed.

The other day she stayed away for a good part of the day, but ever since then she doesn't leave the yard and has gotten very territorial, especially with me (but not my husband).

Nesting and Unexpected Developments

She began squawking at me and trying to bite my fingers, but only when I'm in the kitchen where she nests in one of my straw baskets.

dove is fully grown

Lately, I put her in the bathroom so that I can cook and clean.

Yesterday I finally looked in her basket and sure enough, there is an egg in there! We weren't even sure whether she was a male or female.

Did she mate while out there or do these birds lay eggs without mating? I hope someone can tell us.

I know we disrupted her natural instincts by keeping her so long in the house but she had such a personality and we are her family.

Unfortunately, she can't convince another bird how wonderful it is to live in our home which makes me kind of sad.

I'll update to tell everyone if she has a baby. Then what? Hahaha. We love her!

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