All About Mourning Dove Eggs and Baby Mourning Doves

We share the answers to the most common questions about mourning dove eggs and baby mourning doves, including when they leave the nest.

What Do Mourning Dove Eggs Look Like?

277539530 1 Claudette Moore Bnb Bypc 2021Courtesy Claudette Moore
Two mourning dove eggs in a nest

A female adult mourning dove lays two plain, white, nondescript eggs per clutch. The parents may go on to have up to five or six broods of baby mourning doves in one season.

How Long Does It Take for Mourning Dove Eggs to Hatch?

A baby mourning dove hatches from a white, nondescript egg.

Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman say, “Mourning doves often choose protected spots on the ledges of houses for their twiggy nests. After the pair finishes building the nest—which takes two to four days—the female usually lays the first egg within a couple of days, and a second egg a day or two later. Both parents will take turns incubating the two eggs. The eggs hatch after 14 days.”

Learn how to identify bird eggs by color and size.

What Does a Baby Mourning Dove Look Like?

mourning dove nestCourtesy Arthur Scherwin
Each clutch of eggs usually produces two baby mourning doves.

After hatching, a baby mourning dove’s eyes are closed and it is helpless, relying on its parents for warmth. The hatchling dove is covered in an ivory-colored down material. By two weeks old, the young have grown significantly and are sporting fluffy feathers.

See beautiful pictures of mourning doves.

What Do Baby Mourning Doves Eat?

baby mourning doveCourtesy Eileen Cole
Both parents help feed the hungry baby mourning doves.

Male and female adults produce “crop milk,” an antioxidant-rich liquid secreted in their throats. The milk is also high in fat and protein. Both parents feed this milky substance to the young while they are still in the nest. Eventually, their diet transitions to seeds, an adult mourning dove’s main source of food.

Do mourning dove feathers and wings make noise?

When Do Baby Mourning Doves Leave the Nest?

275052031 1 Anna Johnson Bnb Bypc 2021Courtesy Anna Johnson
The baby doves fledge after two weeks.

Baby mourning doves are ready to fly and leave the nest when they are about two weeks old, but they stay close to their parents and continue to be fed by them for another week or two.

What does a mourning dove call sound like?

What Does a Fledgling Mourning Dove Look Like?

baby mourning dove in nestCourtesy Bethany Terry
As a baby mourning dove grows, it start to resemble an adult bird.

A juvenile mourning dove has white markings on its face. It looks very similar to adults in the body but has white spots at the tips of the feathers.

Check out more super cute pictures of baby birds. You might be interested in knowing if seeing a mourning bird means something, too.

What Should I Do if I Find a Baby Mourning Dove on the Ground?

mourning dovesCourtesy Jean Field
These mourning doves are approximately three weeks old.

When you find a baby mourning dove, or any abandoned baby bird, on the ground, it’s important to first determine what stage its in. (Learn how to tell the difference between a nestling and fledgling.) If it’s a nestling and its nest is nearby, simply place the bird back in the nest. If the bird is older, in fledgling stage, it’s likely not abandoned—one or both parents are probably nearby—and it’s best to leave the bird where it is.

Next, learn how to identify a white-winged dove and a Eurasian collared-dove.

Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing birding and gardening content. As content director of Birds & Blooms, she leads the team of editors and freelance writers sharing tried-and-true advice for nature enthusiasts who love to garden and feed birds in their backyards. Since joining Birds & Blooms 17 years ago, Kirsten has held roles in digital and print, editing direct-to-consumer books, running as many as five magazines as a time and managing special interest publications. Kirsten has traveled to see amazing North American birds, and attended various festivals, including Sedona Hummingbird Festival, Rio Grande Bird Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival and Cape May Spring Festival. She has also witnessed the epic sandhill crane migration while on a photography workshop trip to Colorado. Kirsten has participated in several GardenComm and Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conferences and is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. When she's not researching, writing and editing all things birding and gardening, Kirsten is enjoying the outdoors with her nature-loving family. She and her husband are slowly chipping away at making their small acreage the backyard of their dreams.