Arizona Wildlife

Mourning Dove Eggs – How long for dove eggs to hatch?

mourning dove nest

Mourning Dove eggs!

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.

tiny baby birds in nest

dove eggs hatched, baby doves

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.

birds in Arizona

Mourning Doves, Turtle Doves

By the first week of September, the migration of most nesting populations is usually underway, the juvenile birds typically leaving before the adults.

turtle dove nest with eggs

Turtle Dove, Mourning Dove with two eggs in her nest

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 dove baby in nest

baby doves are called squabs

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.

baby doves left in the nest

mourning dove squabs 11 days old

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.

dove on a 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.

male mourning dove nest

male mourning dove in the nest

Arizona Game and Fish Department, – 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.


20 replies »

  1. Hi every year a pair of mourning doves come make a nest in a hanging basket I have. They pick that basket because it has nasturtiums and petunias which create a nice cover for them to feel safe. But because they make their best there I can’t water the plants in the basket and they die. So does anyone have any suggestions on how to water the plants without disturbing or stressing out the doves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Crystal we have experienced the same problem and what we did was put a few fake vines and flowers in the basket. There really isn’t anyway to get around the doves and water your plants. You do not want the doves to get scared and abandon the nest. There is a time in the early morning or late afternoon when the male and female doves change shifts… at this time, you could place some fake flowers around the inside edges of the basket so the doves are hidden from hawks, etc… Hope this helps. Many blessings


    • Hi Margaret,
      Please check out my [Bill Wallace] new post, submitted 26 May 16. I still have the old mail-box hanging up in my original post and have had different doves nesting there each year ever since. This year they started on 1 Apr and 17 days later the mother had 2 babies. Unfortunately 2 weeks later, when they were leaving the mail box or nest, new neighbors` cats killed them.The mother tried to re-nest again, and gave up 2 weeks after that. Life is Tough.

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. I have a mail-box mounted six feet off the ground, under the sofit of the house and out of the weather,makes a great dove nest as long as one leaves the door open. This is the second season, they have nested in it and had 2 off-spring each time

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We went on a short trip and when arriving home I was pleasantly surprised to find these little babies. Mommy Dove was so smart to nest here as she is out of harms way. Hopefully I will have a photo of her soon. She does not like me sneaking around…


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