Why You Aren't Seeing Any Mourning Doves In Your Yard

Mourning doves are often a welcomed sight in many yards. They typically tend to enjoy open areas with scattered trees and shrubs for nesting and foraging. But if natural food sources in your yard are scarce, they may overlook your garden since they may be seeking food elsewhere. If you would like to attract mourning doves to your yard, you can do so with basic staples. Yet before you go and fill up your window bird feeders expecting to bring mourning doves to your yard, for these low-maintenance birds, all you need to do is sprinkle seeds on the ground.

These sweet cooing birds are often desired in yards because of their gentle nature and calming calls, which can bring peace and relaxation to a home. In many cultures and belief systems, mourning doves symbolize peace, hope, and love. Though that can convey a deeper meaning to their presence, they are also just beautiful birds that are enjoyable to observe. They have simple needs and don't require much beyond some ground seeds and a water source, and this makes them easy to attract to your yard with the right strategy.

Why mourning doves need ground seeds

Mourning doves are primarily ground-feeding birds, so sprinkling seeds or using ground feeders is ideal. They have had to adapt to searching for food on the ground rather than in trees or bushes, and the reason behind it is pretty straightforward. They have short legs and beaks, which are better suited for picking up seeds from the ground than perching and pecking at feeders. Additionally, their small beaks make them better suited for consuming smaller seeds like millet, safflower, and cracked corn found on the ground.

Besides it being physically easier for mourning doves to eat from the garden floor, the yard ground offers a wider variety of seeds and grains, though there are benefits of having a bird feeder in your yard. The doves can find fallen seeds from various plants, weeds, and even spilled birdseed from other feeders. Along with this, doves need small stones or grit to aid in digestion. They often find these naturally mixed with ground seeds, fulfilling both nutritional and digestive needs. Another benefit of ground feeding is protection. Feeding on the ground can feel safer for doves, especially when they're wary of predators or competition from other birds at feeders. For this reason, open spaces help them to be more aware of potential threats when eating.

More ways to make your yard attractive to mourning doves

If you enjoy seeing and hearing these birds, try planting small trees and shrubs to give them food and shelter. This will increase their presence in your yard. Additionally, since they aren't the best at making sturdy nests, any material you can provide in terms of branches and twigs can help their young survive.

Just as these birds provide a calming presence, you'll want to create the same for them and foster a soothing sanctuary in your yard to encourage them to visit. Mourning doves do not typically like loud noises. Create a peaceful environment by reducing noise and distractions. Traffic, construction, or loud household activities can discourage doves from visiting your yard, so choose a quiet spot for them when considering where to set up seed.

Doves also need access to water for both drinking and bathing. If your yard lacks ponds, birdbaths, or other water sources, they might not be attracted. However, you can place a birdbath or a low fountain in your yard to supply a steady source of water for them.