Close this search box.

Backyard Bird of the month for March: Mourning Dove

The “mourning” song of the Mourning Dove is one of the first birdsongs many people learn, partly due to the abundance of this species. They are one of the most widespread species in North America, and have benefited greatly from human development. These habitat generalists are found everywhere except extensive wetlands or forest, and prefer the patchwork of open habitats commonly found in developed areas. The clearing of much of the Northeast for agriculture created an abundance of both habitat and food for Mourning Doves: they only eat plants, especially seeds. Feeding on the ground, they fill their crop with hundreds of small seeds that are then ground up by small stones (that they also swallow) in their gizzard. Temporarily storing seeds in their crop is also how they feed their young: they regurgitate a nutritious “crop milk” derived from the stored seeds, gradually adding in more seed matter until the young are self-sufficient. Keep an eye out for Mourning Doves carrying sticks in the next couple of months, and you may find them building a nest in your backyard.

Backyard Bird of the Month is a feature by Maine Audubon created for the Maine Home Garden News, the newsletter of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Garden and Yard