When male and female mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) pair up for the reproductive season, they're serious about it. They generally stick together for its full duration. Once a pair decides to mate with each other, they do everything from roosting together at night to incubating their youngsters together. They don't necessarily cohabit beyond that, though.
Sleeping in Pairs
Mourning doves, like doves in general, often sleep alongside their mates during the mating season and through the development of the eggs. Once the males court the females and they're on their way to assembling their nests, they're solid twosomes. They're monogamous birds; some mourning doves stick with the same mate every breeding season until one passes away.
Roosting in Numbers
When mourning doves aren't breeding, they don't usually sleep in pairs. They're gregarious creatures during these times, roosting amid sizable flocks. Not only do they usually roost with their flocks, they also usually eat together, too. Their flocks sometimes consist of merely 20 individuals. They sometimes are markedly bigger, too, consisting of 50 doves or more.
Common Roosting Locales
Mourning doves feel secure when they roost in deciduous and coniferous trees. Other typical roosting locales for these doves are woodlots and thick clusters of bushes and trees. They also sometimes roost on parts of manmade structures, notably power lines. When mourning doves roost, they frequently do so in trees that are dead. They even regularly roost on farming sites, often right by rows of trees and shrubs that guard fields against aggressive breezes. Mourning doves smartly tend to roost close to reliable sustenance access, too.
Reproductive Season for Mourning Doves
The reproductive season for mourning doves typically begins in February and ends in October or so. During these times of the year, male and female mourning doves commonly roost together. It isn't uncommon for pairs to reproduce more than once in a season. They breed more when they have access to sufficient food. Common food staples for these doves are fruits and seeds. Once in a while, they dine on insects like beetles and grasshoppers. Mourning doves also have penchants for consuming cultivated crops, specifically oats, millet and corn, among others.
- Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency: Mourning Dove
- Outdoor Alabama: Mourning Dove
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Mourning Dove Biology and Management
- National Geographic Field Guide to Birds - New York; Jonathan K. Alderfer
- The Game Birds of California; Joseph Grinnell et al.
- Beat About the Bush - Birds; Trevor Carnaby
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Zenaida Macroura
- The Conway Daily Sun: Country Ecology - Mourning Dove
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: Attracting Mourning Doves to Your Property
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images