Thank you, Robin, for correctly identifying our porch birds, especially from those small photos on my blog. It always impresses me when people can do that! I've done my internet research and found out some interesting facts about mourning doves, so I am sharing them with you here. Most of the information is from the Cornell University website called "NestWatch".
1. They are monogamous and mate for life. (For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer...just like Joe and I.)
2. The father sits on the nest during the day, and the mother through the night. So it's usually the father that we see during the day. One parent bird is always with the hatchlings. Sounds extremely nurturing and sensible. I especially like that the fathers do 50% of the childcare.
3. They are a common species and live all over our continent (so you probably have one or two around your own front porch. Hang a few baskets and see what happens.)
4. Their flight is fast and bullet straight. But they eat seed off the ground which makes them vulnerable to cats and other predators. Wisely, they prefer to build their nests off the ground.
5. Their soft drawn out coos sound like laments, hence their name. It sounds like "woo-OO-oo-oo".
6. The chicks are cared for by their parents in the nest for 25-27 days. So we figure they will be here for about three more weeks.
7. The chicks will fledge (get their flying feathers ) 15 days after hatching. Perhaps one more week till that happens. They are soft little balls of gray down right now.
8. Their nests are flimsy platforms of twigs and sticks, and they lay two eggs at a time. I had seen a loose nest in the basket, but figured it was from early summer and the birds were long gone. Not so. They re-used their own previously built nest. Recyclers.
9. They have two or three nests a season. That explains the late summer nest, and also them being here all summer long. And they may be back next year. Once they find a spot, they stick to it. Next time, I'll be paying attention.
10. Due to its frequent breeding, and wide range across the continent, "Zenaida Macroura" is not considered an endangered species. Oh good. I can relax.