Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
The Mourning dove, named after its unique cooing call, is very common throughout San Diego County. It lives in the area year round and can usually be spotted on the ground, on telephone wires, and in flight. When Mourning doves take off, their wings produce a unique whistling sound. Their flight path is straight and once you learn it, you will be able to identify mourning doves by their silhouettes moving through the sky. If you see and hear a group of mourning doves take flight, they were probably spooked or attacked by a predator. With a quick search of the area, you may see a hawk perched on a tree or fence.
Mourning doves may breed up to 6 times each year. The nests are very flimsy, and it is not uncommon for them to fall apart. The female mourning dove lays 2 white eggs per brood. The eggs are incubated for 14 days before they hatch. The black nestlings are called squabs and stay in the nest for 12 to 15 days. Once they are old enough, the dove fledglings fly out of the nests. They generally hang around nearby for a few more days after.
Brood – a set of young hatched at the same time in the same nest
Fledglings – young birds that have left the nest, but are still under the care of the parents