Dove birds – A smaller version of Pigeons

Birds Human Classroom

Dove birds are known to be found all over the world, commonly are also known as pigeons, but they differ in that the Dove being the smaller ones and the pigeons being the bigger ones. They belong to the Columbidae family and there are hundreds of species of Dove birds in the world. Some of these types can be domesticated to be petted and be good companions. One of the most well known and found in the United States is the Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), Eurasian collared dove, and the white-winged dove. 

One of the species that can be as a pet is the Diamond dove and the Ring-necked dove. If you want to have a bird as a pet, these birds are a very good option, take into consideration that the Dove doesn’t act or resemble the Parrots, they are calm birds and don’t make loud noises, but you can enjoy a good and careful interaction with your Doves and also listen to their cooing which some people consider being very pleasant.

Other of the most known species among the dove are:

  • Rock dove
  • Collared Dove
  • Turtle dove
  • Common ground dove
  • Ringed Turtle Dove
  • White dove
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Fruit Dove

Characteristics

Despite the existence of many Dove species in the world, they differ only by the color and features of their plumage or because they have some part of their body that identifies them but they all have common general aspects, these birds are identified by having small and rounded heads, small and thin beaks, rounded bodies with soft and dense feathers, their wings go from wide to thin, some have a long tail plumage, they have short and scaly legs. They are small in size and usually measure between 5.9 to 29.5 inches in length and weigh between 0.066 lb to above 4.4 lb. The Wingspan averages about 17.7 inches and can vary by species.  The dove can be found in a wide variety of colors and tones, they can be white, brown, black, gray, one of the best-known mourning dove is characterized by having light brown tones on its body with certain white tones and its wings have a peachy tone with black spots and its tail has black edges. They have an approximate life expectancy of 10 years.

If you want to have a dove as a pet, you must take into account that they all like cooing and singing, it’s not as strong as the parrots but they do it very often, some people like its singing but others do not tolerate it because it is very constant.

Care and feeding 

If you decide to have a Dove as a pet you must take into mind that they are not like the parrots, they are different in many ways. The main thing you should take into consideration is the cage for this bird, unlike the parrots, they don’t cling or climb the bars of the cage, so the cages have to be very wide to allow them to fly and move within it. I suggest you putting different perch styles and of varying diameters so that it can support easily and also help their legs maintain good health. Dove needs to bathe from time to time so you must leave something that allows access to water such as a bowl or a plate, something very important to know always try to keep their cage clean so you can prevent the accumulation of bacteria and prevent disease, you can also disinfect the cage with a good product that is not toxic.  Make sure that the bars are not made of toxic elements, and that the food and water are kept away from the perches to avoid contamination.  You should always keep them in their cages with access to natural light and as any bird likes to fly, so take them out of their cage daily and let them fly indoors, in a safe environment so that they can get some exercise.

The dove is not a bird that you can easily hold with your hands, and forcing interaction with them because might be terrifying, or even worse you might hurt their wings but some doves can be hand-tamed and even a little more sociable and even eat out of your hand. They get along well with other birds of the same species and it would always be nice if they had a partner.

In wildlife, depending on the type of species, their diet varies, some eat seeds and there are others whose diet is based on fruits. Some of those that are domesticated are mostly seed-based, you can vary with different types of grit because the birds need minerals in their diets to have a good body function and strengthen their bone structure, at least at times of breeding they need extra calcium and phosphorus to help them in the process of breeding. An example of a diet of one of the most well-known species, the mourning dove is known to like cultivated grains and even peanuts, as well as wild grasses, weeds, herbs, and occasionally berries and they eat about 12 to 20 percent of their body weight per day or about 71 calories. Also, since these birds don’t have teeth, they need to ingest pebbles and gravel that pass through their mouths and use them as teeth. You can also resort to bird seed sold in pet stores or online as long as they are of good quality. You should always leave a fresh and clean water bowl, you should change it every day to avoid diseases.

Health

The health of the dove in general are very healthy birds but they can have diseases such as canker, which is a respiratory disease that manifests itself by swelling in the throat until it reaches the mouth, can be fatal if not treated, you must go directly to an avian veterinarian to be treated. Dove birds are also susceptible to red mites that hide during the day and come out at night to feed on the bird’s blood, and the doves that live outside are also prone to having worms and other types of parasites. You should always take into mind that if you are breeding this bird, you should wash your hands after handling, feeding, or cleaning its cage, since it can transmit salmonella and chlamydia (bacterial infections) to people.

Always try to have your pets checked by your veterinarian to rule out any type of disease.

HUNTING

In the United States, dove hunting is allowed. It’s legal in most states, but some have their own regulations. The mourning dove is the most hunted migratory game bird in North America and is a sport practiced in many parts of the world. Depending on the state you can hunt certain species but not all of them are allowed like The Band-tailed Pigeon, Inca Dove, and Common Ground-Dove; they are all protected species. They also have a specific schedule in which the dove hunters are allowed to act, as well as must have a license to perform this activity.  You cannot hunt during the closed season for migratory game birds.  You must also take into account that if you want to prepare a dove field it must be following the law. Also, you can’t shoot nongame migratory birds. Federal and state regulations help ensure that these birds continue to prosper while providing hunting opportunities. 

Nesting and Breeding

Starting in March until July, or depending on the area, also can be in October, Dove birds begin to form their nest, which is made up of twigs, grass, weeds, and pine needles. It takes them approximately 2 to 4 days to finish it, the male is in charge of looking for them and passes it to the female to form it with a size about 8 inches across. Nests can usually be found between 5-25 feet above the ground and can be found among the branches of bushes or in trees, and there are also times when the Mourning Doves have made nests on abandoned equipment, roofs, and so many other places. Dove pairs stay together throughout the season and some may pair up in subsequent seasons. Doves lay 2 white eggs which are incubated for 14-15 days, after the babies are born, the Nestling Period begins which lasts between approximately 12 and 15 days, they are cared for by their parents during this period until they can become independent and leave the nest. It’s known that doves use the same nest for the next breeding.

I hope this information helps you to know more about this species of bird and helps you to decide if you want to have a Dove as a pet.  If you have any questions or if you think I’ve missed anything please let me know in the comment section down below.

Professor Whiskers
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