Mourning Dove and squab

The other day I wrote about a pair of Mourning Doves (Columbiformes: Columbidae: Zenaida macroura) that had built a nest above the front door of a friend’s shop. They had been taking turns incubating their eggs, seeming completely unbothered by all the people in their proximity. Earlier today I stopped by to check in on them and noticed a newly-hatched squab peeking out from under its parent:

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Mourning Dove (Columbiformes: Columbidae: Zenaida macroura) with squab. Photographed 06/21/2013 near Clayton, Michigan.

Mourning Doves incubate their eggs for only about two weeks before they hatch. During the first few days both parents feed the young a substance known as crop milk. This protein- and fat-rich material is produced in the crops of the adults, who regurgitate it and insert it in the throats of their young. It was apparently hunger that brought this squab out of hiding, because the parent fed it in this manner just before I got these photos.

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Mourning Dove (Columbiformes: Columbidae: Zenaida macroura) with squab. Photographed 06/21/2013 near Clayton, Michigan.

In a few days the adults will start to supplement their diets with seeds. After a couple of weeks the young will leave the nest and learn to forage on their own.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Vertebrate Zoology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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