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wild dove question

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  • wild dove question

    Doris the dove came back to her nest. She laid two eggs and has been gone for 4 days. I fear she might be dead but maybe found a better nest. What shall I do with the eggs? leave them or destroy them? I hope she might come back.
    A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton

  • #2
    She's a wild dove? Leave it. Nature will deal with it.
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    • #3
      I agree. Also - have you been futzing with the nest? As in frequently visiting it/peeking into it, etc., etc.? Since you know there are eggs in there, I'll presume so. STOP!!! I hate to sound cruel, but "Doris" may not return because of all your interference. Once you discover a bird's nest, you need to LEAVE IT STRICTLY ALONE - INCLUDING VISITING. I wouldn't be surprised if "Doris" has left for good (no bird leaves their nest for 4 days) & found a less-intrusive nexting spot.


      • #4
        After four days without incubation, these eggs are not going to hatch, do with them what you will, but remember a large variety of critters love eggs, why not leave them for some wild animal?

        Don't forget Doris had a mate who was doing nearly half of the incubation. Perhaps something happened to him, if so, Doris will find another mate and nest again, or (Mr. Doris will.) It may not be too late for doves in your area, although she and her new mate (or he and his) will have to synchronize reproductively as far as their hormones and reproductive behavior. You may see a pair "nest-soliciting" at the nest, doing the bow-coo display or see other bow-coo courtship displays.

        I think you mentioned on another thread that this pair had previously raised a few clutches of eggs on this nest. It sounds like something may have happened to Doris or her mate. Doves cannot incubate or parent alone, they need a partner. The survivor will probably find another mate and reproduce again, and perhaps will even use this nest again later this season or maybe next season.

        Some people think that monogamous birds will mourn for life if they lose their mate. Doves do not, they are practical and will move on with a new partner.


        • Original Poster

          I totally left her alone and watched her from an upstairs closed window. I did not drive her away. I went to our local wildlife museum last year and asked what I could do. They said leave her alone and we did. We watched her raise two sets of baby birds last summer but thanks for the possible guilt trip....

          There is no way for a raccoon to get the eggs and I am happy to put them down for them. I just wondered what was best for a possible future pair.
          A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


          • #6
            Liz- I wouldn't worry about the guilt trip. Birds aren't as finicky about their nests and young as the folklore would have you believe. The biggest danger with poking around bird nests is that you will leave a scent trail that ANOTHER predator may follow and your scent will lead them to the nest.

            Doves are some of the most prolific birds as well as some of the shortest lived. I think that the average lifespan is less than 2 years. If indeed this was your "Doris" it sounds like she did have a good long Dove life. I'd leave the eggs alone- if another bird comes along and wants to take over the nest- which there is a good chance since it's a protected already "proven" spot- they will push them out.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Plainandtall View Post
              Doves are some of the most prolific birds as well as some of the shortest lived. I think that the average lifespan is less than 2 years. If indeed this was your "Doris" it sounds like she did have a good long Dove life. I'd leave the eggs alone- if another bird comes along and wants to take over the nest- which there is a good chance since it's a protected already "proven" spot- they will push them out.
              I suppose that depends upon your local ecology, food availability, predators, etc. we have had ring necked doves, a related species, live as long as 28 years. Life is much harder in the wild!

              Agree they will push eggs out, or very often, break and eat them.


              • #8
                Were your long lived doves captive? I have heard that the captive lifespan is much much longer. There is also a big difference in the lifespan of wild doves depending on if the state allows dove hunting.


                • #9
                  Yes, of course the captive animals of any species will generally live much longer than their wild conspecifics, when food and safety from predators is no longer a factor.

                  But there is a "how long CAN they live" vs how long do they USUALLY live in the wild question.

                  My point was, some species of doves can live quite a long time in captivity.

                  One might then suspect that the two year lifespan of some dove species might then be due to predation or food availability, rather than some limitation in the dove genome that precludes a longer lifespan.