Please Hope My Wild Mourning Doves
April 21, 2010 4:50 PM   Subscribe

A couple of mourning doves have nested and I think laid eggs right next to where I hang out in our back yard. I was really excited that they weathered a little rain storm last night, but I probably jinxed them. A short while after I checked on them this afternoon a hawk chased the birds away. The hawk wasn't able to get the eggs because I chased it away.

1. How long can the eggs/babies live without heat from their mom?

2. If I incubate them, what the heck do I feed the little hatchlings?

Yes, I know, as a life long explorer and nature lover I should probably not bother or intrude. I'm asking as a last resort in case the parents don't return soon enough.
posted by snsranch to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Yep, two eggs and the parent birds came back for a few minutes and left again.
posted by snsranch at 5:01 PM on April 21, 2010

Best answer: They should be fine and even if this batch of eggs doesn't make it, the parents will lay a second batch. Mourning doves tend to be stubborn about abandoning a nest, I had one pair nest right above a busy doorway and next to a kitchen window in full view of three cats who kept hurling themselves at the glass.

Baby doves require 'crop milk,' which is secreted in the crops of the adult birds. There's not really a good substitute for it, it's a greater kindness to let the eggs go than to try to raise wild birds on an inadequate diet.
posted by jamaro at 5:14 PM on April 21, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you very much jamaro. That's very reassuring considering that I figured intervening was a bad idea anyway. Now I know why.

Now for some good news...the Mom came back and she's on the eggs right now!
posted by snsranch at 5:32 PM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Awesome! I love it when the parent birds sit there and give you the hairy eyeball.

Eggs should hatch in 15 days, fledglings will leave the nest ~14 days after hatching, if you're trying to plan when to lock up any outside cats.
posted by jamaro at 6:13 PM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

We were too worried when Dad accidentaly scared one of our turtle doves one evening (Dad couldn't sleep at all that night because he was so upset), but the parents returned the following moring and the offspring turned out just fine.
posted by halogen at 6:16 PM on April 21, 2010 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Just in case this is still in your recently activity... Thanks you two!

We have babies now!

I would post pics, but, halogen, thank you, yours are awesome!

Woo, hoo hoo!
posted by snsranch at 4:08 PM on May 5, 2010

Mazel tov! :)
posted by jamaro at 6:50 PM on May 5, 2010

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