Morning Dove Breakfast Crowd

There were no doves when we moved here. Now the morning dove breakfast crowd is ready and waiting every morning.

One of the black walnut trees back from the bird feeder has two big horizontal branches. The doves line the branches basking in the early morning sun and watching for food service to arrive.

morning dove breakfast crowd waiting
The morning doves begin to arrive shortly after sunrise. The numbers increase until there are 18 to 24 birds lining the branches. They watch as the feeder trays are put out then descend on the feeder shoving their way into the crowd.

Doves are ground birds with feet like chickens, made for walking more than perching. The doves moved in after the pastures were cleared out of most of the brush that had moved in.

The bird feeder with its broad tray area is perfect for doves as they can land and walk around sampling the various offerings. Their favorites are the sunflower seeds and the milo.

morning dove breakfast crowd checks for fallen seeds while waiting
The sunflower tray is usually about empty at night so the leftovers, mostly shells are dumped on the ground below the feeder shelf. Some of the morning crowd checks for any good ones.

At least there is supposed to be room. During the winter the morning dove breakfast crowd fills the feeder until they seem to stand on top of one another.

During the spring and summer the crowd thins as the males get more belligerent. The numbers stay high as the doves are busy raising young doves.

Mammals are known for feeding their young with milk. The pigeon family also feeds their young on a type of milk produced in their crops. This seems to influence their seed choice.

Corn is not favored. Over the winter the blue jays eat the corn. All summer the corn is left in the bowl. The doves toss it around searching for and eating the milo. This mix is a hen scratch containing both.

morning dove
Morning doves have feet more adapted to walking than to perching. They are smaller and more slender than the common rock dove better known as a pigeon. They form semi permanent pairs and both parents incubate the eggs and raise the young.

The morning dove breakfast crowd may start by gorging at the bird feeder. They later scatter into flocks feeding other places.

When I go walking out along the creek, there will be a whirr of wings as a flock will take off. If I walk up the ravine behind the house, the same whirr greets me. It is hard to sneak up on a flock.

The best way to see these birds is to get up early enough to see the morning dove breakfast crowd.

Feeding wild birds is one essay in “Exploring the Ozark Hills“.