Maryland Birds

Mourning Dove


What do they look like?

Mourning doves are about 12 inches long and have pointed tails with white along the edges. The birds are slate gray in color with tan or brownish breast feathers. Their heads are small with a short beak and a black spot behind their eyes.

Where are they found?

Doves can be found throughout Maryland. They live close to agricultural fields and nest in deciduous and coniferous trees preferring the conifers. They are the third most abundant and widely distributed bird in North America.

What do they eat?

Doves feed almost entirely on small seeds scattered on the ground. Waste grains of agricultural crops including corn, wheat, rye, and sunflowers are important food items. They often eat seeds of grasses and weeds such as foxtail, crabgrass, panicgrass, chickweed and smartweed. Doves drink water several times a day.

What other kinds of doves live in Maryland?

The domestic pigeon or rock dove also lives in Maryland.

I didn't know that!

Doves eat small pieces of stone or gravel, commonly known as "grit", which is stored in the gizzard and used to grind up the seeds they eat.

Photo of Mourning Dove, courtesy of goingslo, flickr