Mourning Doves in New York State

Cooing Resilience: Exploring the Life and Legacy of Mourning Doves in New York State

mourning doves
A Mourning Dove visits our bird feeder. On a very cold morning in January 2024

Mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) are a common and fascinating species found throughout New York State. These graceful birds are known for their distinctive cooing sounds, often heard in both rural and urban environments.

Mourning Doves Lifestyle:

Mourning doves are adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, farmlands, and suburban areas. Their slender bodies, soft gray plumage, and pinkish breasts make them easily recognizable. These birds are agile flyers, capable of swift, darting movements, and are often seen perched on power lines or foraging on the ground.

Breeding Patterns:

Breeding season for mourning doves typically spans from spring to early fall. During courtship, males engage in elaborate displays, including cooing, puffing their chests, and fluttering their wings to attract a mate. Nests are often constructed in trees, shrubs, or even on building ledges. The female usually lays two eggs, and both parents take turns incubating them. The chicks hatch after about two weeks, and both parents contribute to feeding and caring for the young.

mourning dove bird seed

Mourning Doves Diet:

Mourning doves primarily feed on seeds, grains, and small insects. Their diet is versatile, allowing them to thrive in a variety of environments. In urban areas, they may feed on spilled birdseed or grains, while in rural settings, they forage for seeds on the ground. Their gentle cooing often accompanies their feeding habits.


The mourning dove has a rich history intertwined with human civilization. Revered for its gentle demeanor, it has been a symbol of peace and love in various cultures. In North America, Native American tribes recognized the dove’s symbolism and incorporated it into their folklore. Over time, these birds have become ingrained in the cultural fabric of New York State.

In the early 20th century, doves faced significant population declines due to hunting. However, conservation efforts and regulations have helped stabilize their numbers, and they are now a common sight in the state.

In conclusion, doves in New York State are more than just birds; they are a symbol of resilience and adaptability. Their unique lifestyle, intricate breeding patterns, and diverse diet contribute to their importance in the local ecosystem. Understanding and appreciating these aspects of mourning doves can deepen our connection to the natural world around us.