How long does it take for mourning dove eggs to hatch? The dove eggs will be incubated for 14-15 days, by both the male and the female doves. It takes about the same time for the young doves to leave the nest. The young doves are fed regurgitated pigeon milk by both parents, and they grow and develop rapidly.
Mourning Dove breeding season is April – July although some may breed as late as October. Even in southern Arizona, nesting is essentially over by mid-August, and some of the early-hatched Dove juveniles have already migrated by late July.
By the first week of September, the migration of most nesting populations is usually underway, the juvenile birds typically leaving before the adults.
Beginning as early as March, these birds build a loose nest of twigs, grass, weeds and pine needles. The male dove carries twigs to the female dove who then weaves a flimsy nest of grass stems and twigs to lay her eggs.
Mourning Doves, commonly called Turtle Doves, are one of the most adaptable, widespread North American birds. It is also the leading gamebird for sport and meat. Doves are strong fliers and can reach speeds of 55 mph (88 km/h).
Mourning doves occur from the lowest elevations along the Colorado River upward through forests of ponderosa pines to 8,500 feet. Their staple foods throughout the year are primarily small seeds and cultivated grains. In the Sonoran Desert the woeful call of breeding males can be heard as early as February, and pairs have been known to attempt as many as seven nestings in a single season.
When visiting Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona you will frequently see the White-winged Doves pictured below. The Whitewinged dove eats the fruits of the giant Saguaro Cactus.
Although still ranked as one of Arizona’s two most important game birds, dove hunting has since fallen off due to urban expansion, changing farm practices, and more restrictive season arrangements.
Arizona Game and Fish Department, http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/hunt-info/dove/dove.shtml - When it comes to the early dove season, the hot action will typically be near agricultural areas with grain type crops growing or recently cut. While Arizona is well known for its cotton, the state also produces corn, sorghum, melons, barley, and even wheat – all great dove attractants. Dove hunting is a very popular tradition, and Arizona has more than 30,000 participate each year.