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Posts Tagged ‘mourning dove’

Floundering Fledgling

Phil and I were putting together some new outdoor rocking chairs in the lawn when I heard a noise in the lawn behind me. I turned around to find a baby bird, although alive for a change!

This little bird had feathers and was hopping around rather awkwardly and chirping.

Baby bird

Baby bird

While observing the bird and trying to decide a course of action, Phil spotted a mourning dove, perched on the lines above our fence. Could this be a parent, watching over the youngster from a safe distance?

Mama bird

Adult bird

By pure chance, I had recently read a couple of things about finding baby birds on the ground.

Number one, I knew that it was a myth that one ought not touch a baby bird because the mother will reject it if it smells like humans. I had read that it is better to scoop it up and put it back in its nest.

But I didn’t know where the nest was.

Plus, I remembered something about fledglings. Fledglings are young birds that have just gotten their feathers and are about ready to fly. They can hop around. This seemed to fit the description of my little friend.  It seems that one should NOT try to put a fledgling back in its nest (even if I knew where it was).  And the fact that we had spotted a possible parent so nearby made me think that the best thing to do would be to take the dog inside and let her swoop in and save the day. I don’t know how, but that’s what I thought.

According to a bit of research, I think I did the right thing. The tricky part is deciding if it was, indeed, feathered.  It looks a bit fuzzy about the face. I also don’t know if the young bird is the offspring of the adult or not. It’s hard to tell from the photograph. The more I study it, the less the youngster looks like a mourning dove to me.

We had to leave the house shortly afterwards, and both adult and baby were not to be found when we returned that night.

Here’s a bit about the mourning dove. Factoids of note include:

  • Mourning doves have the longest breeding season of all North American birds.
  • Both male and female mourning doves share in incubating and feeding their young.
  • When young mourning doves tap on their parent’s bills it stimulates regurgitation of crop milk, produced by both male and female parents, and the sole source of food in the babies’ first 3-4 days.
  • Adult mourning doves usually live to about 1.5 years old in the wild, but can live up to 19 years.
  • During migration these birds may fly over 1000 miles to reach their winter resting spot.
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