MORE WILDLIFE WEDNESDAY: Meet our newest hatchling! This tiny Mourning Dove went into the egg incubator (as an egg) and emerged a few days later. Weighing in at only 4 grams, this tiny creature is strong and healthy. It is currently residing in the Hatchling Incubator and is being gently cared for by staff and volunteers.
Here are some facts about Mourning Doves from Cornell: •During the breeding season, you might see three Mourning Doves flying in tight formation, one after another. This is a form of social display. Typically the bird in the lead is the male of a mated pair. The second bird is an unmated male chasing his rival from the area where he hopes to nest. The third is the female of the mated pair, which seems to go along for the ride. •Mourning Doves tend to feed busily on the ground, swallowing seeds and storing them in an enlargement of the esophagus called the crop. Once they’ve filled it (the record is 17,200 bluegrass seeds in a single crop!), they can fly to a safe perch to digest the meal. •Mourning Doves eat roughly 12 to 20 percent of their body weight per day, or 71 calories on average. •Perhaps one reason why Mourning Doves survive in the desert: they can drink brackish spring water (up to almost half the salinity of sea water) without becoming dehydrated the way humans would. •The Mourning Dove is the most widespread and abundant game bird in North America. Every year hunters harvest more than 20 million, but the Mourning Dove remains one of our most abundant birds with a U.S. population estimated at 350 million. •The oldest known Mourning Dove was 31 years 4 months old.