View Full Version : Can you tell me what sort of birds these are?

2005-Sep-18, 03:26 PM
Okay, so I was out trimming some trees the other day. The neighbor sees me out and asks me if I can trim this tree near the property line that overhangs their driveway slightly (I'm not sure what type of tree it is. It's low and splits into several "trunks" about a foot up. The branches quickly spread out into a tangle of smaller limbs and it has purplish colored leaves all year. We thought maybe a plum tree but there was never any fruit that I saw (lots of beautiful flowers in the spring, though)). Anyways, she asked me if I didn't mind trimming it back slightly as it was scraping their van every time they backed out of the drive so I said sure.

Well after cutting down the branch, I saw a bird's nest in it with two baby birds. I carefully picked it up and put it on a different branch in that tree, hoping the momma bird would still find it. She did. Unfortunately, one of the babies later fell out. I picked him up and put him back. It looked like he'd fallen through the nest (it wasn't well supported there). So I tried moving the nest to a better spot. The next day, it appeared that he fell out again and this time we could not find it at all, so we're down to one baby. Later that day/evening I checked on the bird and the entire nest had fallen out of the tree. So I again picked up the bird and the nest. This time I moved it to a spot in a different tree about 15 ft away on the other side of our driveway. Thankfully momma again found her baby (several times we could see her keeping a wary eye on us but she never interfered).

The next day Terra (my fiance) went out to check on the baby and go this picture. Yes, she was only about 2-3 ft away when she took it. Anyways, here's the picture she took. I was hoping anyone could identify these birds.

http://images5.theimagehosting.com/Baby bird 007- small.jpg (http://www.theimagehosting.com)

Since the picture was taken, we got a major thunderstorm a day or two after. Terra was leaving and she saw the baby and he was huddled against one of the trunks shivering slightly and looking all around miserable. So despite the ran she got back out of the truck and wrapped the baby up in a towel and put him on top of this bookcase we've got stored on our carport. The baby still can't quite fly. He tried when I approached him once to give him so food and just sort flapped around but didn't get far. I was finally able to chase him down and pick him up and put him back. I've moved him down to one of the shelves where he has more room and I've put a bowl of birdseed out for him and mommy. She has found him again, though she stays gone a fair bit and I haven't seen her at all in the last couple of days (though I've only checked a couple of times).

Nowhere Man
2005-Sep-18, 03:43 PM
I think you've got mourning doves. Check Google Images for mourning dove. Have you heard a call like "coo-ah, coo coo coo"? That's them. Do mamma bird's wings whilstle when she flies off? That's them.


2005-Sep-18, 04:42 PM
I think you've got mourning doves. Check Google Images for mourning dove. Have you heard a call like "coo-ah, coo coo coo"? That's them. Do mamma bird's wings whilstle when she flies off? That's them.


Thanks, looking at the pictures I think you're right. I've not heard the momma fly off really so I couldn't say. I'm also not sure about the call. I know, not much help there.

2005-Sep-18, 07:37 PM
Mourning doves to my untrained but experienced eye. For years I've had a nest on a 4x4 rafter of a mini-porch outside my front door. I see them everyday. The occupants usually produce 5-6 pairs of young, continuoulsy from March to September.

They've trained me to knock, before opening the front door, so that they aren't startled when the door swings open -- so I'm not startled by their wing-flapping in flight just above my head.

I wouldn't assume the adult with the chick is the female. The pair switches off nest-sitting duties at least once a day. Males and females have similar appearance.

Most fun is watching the initial nest bulding, and repair between broods. Male brings a twig to the female. They mate. Female places new twig just right (usually it falls to the ground) while male goes off to find another. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. For several days.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Sep-18, 08:29 PM
I'd agree. Mourning Doves. But I only say so because I see them frequently. (Read: I'm not an expert by any means)

Charlie in Dayton
2005-Sep-19, 04:35 AM
You're extremely lucky that mama bird came back as often as she did...one that comes back after someeone has handled the nest/one of the young even once is summat rare, as I recall...

2005-Sep-19, 06:05 AM
The old tale is that the human smell will shy them away. But the birds can hardly smell at all, so this is a myth. However, the bird might not come around if it feels threatened by human proximity or possible predator.

2005-Sep-19, 07:25 AM
allow me to "me, too" on mourning doves. pretty things, aren't they?

2005-Sep-19, 11:14 AM
Another vote for Mourning Doves. I see them every morning searching my lawn for food.

2005-Sep-19, 01:58 PM
The old tale is that the human smell will shy them away. But the birds can hardly smell at all, so this is a myth. However, the bird might not come around if it feels threatened by human proximity or possible predator.
Absolutely right. I volunteer at a nature center and we are always fielding questions about "I touched the baby bird, now the mom will abandon it". Put the baby back in the nest, mom (and dad) will come back. The baby actually looks pretty mature, I suspect some of the last falling-out-of-the-nests were actually attempts at flight. A lot of young birds are pretty bad at flying at first. They will end up on the ground, unable to fly back up to the nest, and the parents will keep a eye on them on the ground.

2005-Sep-19, 03:30 PM
Any advance on "mourning doves"? Do I hear "a pair of yellowbellied sapsuckers" from the gentleman on my right? No? All done, then? Going once ... going twice ... <knock!>

Mourning doves they are, then!

Donnie B.
2005-Sep-19, 03:41 PM
Apparently, whoever named mourning doves thought their song sounded sad. (Alliteration, anyone?)

It doesn't seem that way to me. Soothing and calm, yes, but not sad.

2005-Sep-19, 04:09 PM

Were I "King of Having My Way and Grand Lord Muckey-Muck of the Universe" (that's KoHMWaGLMMotU, for short), I'd be inclined to rename them "morning doves". I see that very color in the false-dawn sky over the Bay of Chaleur most mornings.

Moose I, KoHMWaGLMMotU-elect.

2005-Sep-19, 05:46 PM
A link with a lot of stuff about Mourning Doves (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/programs/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Mourning_Dove.html)
I checked a bunch of sites and though none say so explicitly, they all talking about the call being "mournful" and thus the name.

2005-Sep-27, 08:27 PM
Just a bit of an update. I didn't see the mother much after posting the message. I'm not sure if she was just always gone the times I looked or if she really left. But a few days after I posted the last message I checked in on them to find the baby gone and neither one has been back since. I'm not sure if the baby flew off or if he tried to fly and got eaten or what. He had been up on the shelf for several days and never seemed to leave it that I saw before that.

So they seem to be gone now, but it was definitely a nice experience watching it.

2005-Sep-27, 08:59 PM
I'll add my Mourning Dove story. A couple of months ago, my neighbor, knowing that I am a birdwatcher, asked me to help her with a dead bird in her feeder. The feeder was cylindrical, with perches on the bottom, and an opening at top to put the food in, kind of like this (http://www.gardeners.com/Shopping/sell.asp?ProdGroupID=17874&SC=XNET8012) one. Apparently, the lid came off and a Mourning Dove flew inside it and got stuck. I'm not sure how long it was there (perhaps a couple of days), but it was dead when my neighbor found it. Mourning Doves are not known for being terribly intelligent, even if people do mistake their call for an owl.

BTW: that bit about a mother bird rejecting a baby that was touched by a human is pure hogwash. Sometimes, if there is a food shortage, the mother or older siblings will kick the weakest bird out of the nest. If you put it back in, the mother may evict it again, but not because you touched it. Most likely though is that the bird simply fell out, or was ejected by a cowbird chick, so putting it back in the nest is the best thing to try.

2005-Sep-27, 11:08 PM
cowbird chick?

Nowhere Man
2005-Sep-28, 02:49 AM
Cowbird: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowbird
How now, brown-headed cowbird: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/BOW/BNHCOW/