Friday, June 11, 2010

Identifying A Bird Nesting in a Hanging Pot

Do you have a bird nesting in a hanging flower pot?

After a recent talk I gave on identifying
local birds, my friend Shane and his daughter Jenna sent me the following photos of the bird they wanted to identify.

This mourning dove has build a nest in a hanging pot. The dove or pigeon shape of the body, the soft gray coloring, the black beak, and the lack of a marking on the neck or a "collar," help us to identify that this is a mourning dove. This smallish dove is one of the most typically seen birds at bird feeders and in suburbs. Mourning doves don’t mind people and we discourage the presence of their primary predators: hawks and falcons, foxes, bobcats and other small mammalian predators.

Mourning doves build a haphazard, loose nest of twigs. If they can find a cupped location–like a hanging pot– or a secure surface–like the top of a window-mounted air conditioner or a protected roof line under an eave–they will use that human-made location to their benefit. Frequently that means mourning doves nest close to human activities.

This pinkish-gray dove depends on its camouflage coloring to allude predators. Their survival tactic is to remain very still. They trust that if they don’t move, you can’t see them. Don’t be surprised if a nesting dove will sit on its nest as you walk by.

According to birding books, both parents incubate the eggs; taking a shift at a specific time of day. The two white eggs shown here are a typical clutch.

A bird nesting close to your home says that you are providing habitat the bird needs. A protected secure location near food and water. (See nesting Bewick’s wren, Allen’s hummingbird.)

I hope that Jenna and her dad will keep us informed as the mourning doves continue their nesting effort. It would be great to see young mourning doves.

What is in your yard?

Are you interested in learning to identify birds in your yard? Contact me at

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