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How do you care for a fledgling mourning dove?

How do you care for a fledgling mourning dove?

Fledgling doves are the baby doves that are on the ground for several days before they start flying. As these doves are still babies, you need to care for them as much as you care for a human baby. Continue reading this article to know how to care for a fledged mourning dove.

How do you care for a fledgling mourning dove?

Here are some of the fledgling mourning dove care tips that will be helpful to you to take care of them in a proper way.

1. Feeding

Baby mourning doves are very small and cannot feed on their own. Their parents usually feed them. The bird’s mother softens the seeds or grains and then feeds them to the baby dove through the beak. Therefore, if you have found any mourning dove and want to feed it some food, you must first soften it and then feed it to the baby dove slowly. You can take the help of the syringe for feeding. Just cut the front portion of the syringe so that the bird can easily put the beak inside it and eat the food. You can give the dove a bird food mix with the warm water so that it softens and become easy for the baby dove to digest.

2. Habitat

Baby doves need to be kept at a warm temperature till they get their feathers. You can create a small and cozy habitat in your house easily. You can take a box and cover it from the inside with a soft towel to create warmth. Placing a heating pad inside the box is also another helpful alternative. But make sure that you keep a towel on top of the heating pad so that the dove gets the heat indirectly as direct heat may burn their delicate skin. In the initial stage, keep the heating pad’s temperature at 95 degrees and lower it by one degree each day. You can also place a red light bulb so that they can get heat even from there.

3. Cleaning

Cleanliness of the surrounding is a must around the babies. Therefore you must always try to keep the surrounding or the inner side of the box clean. While feeding the dove, if some food is dropped on the body of the baby dove, clean it with a soft cloth. Bathing the bird in a fledgling stage is not advised as they are very sensitive. On the other hand, if the mourning baby doves have feathers, you can fill the plate with enough water and let the bird bathe himself comfortably.

4. Protection

Fledgling baby doves must be protected from pets like cats as these are their predators. They can eat them if we are not near the bird. Therefore, you must always keep the pet away from the room where the baby doves are kept. Also, if its the winter season, you must provide an ample amount of warmth to the birds so that they can feel cozy and comfortable. As the baby doves are small, their parents sit on them and brood till they can regulate their own body temperature.

What can you do to a fledgling dove?

If you have found the fledgling mourning doves on the ground, then the first thing you have to do is to check the surrounding area for the nests. If you found one, then kindly place the baby dove in it. If the bird is a bit older in this stage, there are chances that its parents are nearby somewhere and have not abandoned the baby dove.

Can fledglings feed themselves?

Fledgling baby doves have no skills in this stage of their life. They cannot feed themselves or fly properly in the sky. They even can’t defend themselves from predators. Therefore, you need to feed the baby doves with your hands in this stage. They can eat the food if you bring it near their beaks, similar to their parents.

How to know if the fledgling mourning dove is dying?

Various signs indicate that the mourning dove is dying, such as distorted breathing patterns. The baby dove may breathe with an open beak; there would be a change in the voice sounds, puffing and panting breaths. Also, the physical appearance of the birds can tell if they are well or not. If they are about to die, their eyes or membranes swell, and their feathers are pluffed even if its not cold. Sometimes even their behaviour of staying quiet or dull indicates their health issues.    

How can you save a fledgling baby dove from dying?

When a fledgling baby dove is trying to fly in the sky on its own, it may fall from the nest in the ground and stay there for a long time. Therefore, in such a situation, you must first check if its injured or not. If it is not injured then you can keep it there, but if it has wounds or is severely injured then you can contact the Licensed wildlife rehabilitator as they have the expertise and know various ways of saving the birds.      

Are fledglings mourning doves safe on the ground?

Mourning doves are safe on the grounds unless there are no predators nearby. Their parents are usually near them, but they don’t be beside them full time. The baby mourning dove feels safe in the dark bushes or in places where they are not seen by the predators easily. So, if you bring them home, you can create a small nest or home for them that is away from the pets that you have at your home.


Mourning doves are immature baby doves who lack the skills of eating or flying. If you have bought any abandoned bird, then you must take proper care of it so that it can grow healthy and feel safe at your place. I hope this article has helped you and given you an idea of how to take care of the baby mourning dove.