You’ve likely seen the distinctive silhouettes of mourning doves slumbering in your yard and backyard. Whether they’re resting in your tree or nest box, roosting on your chimney or eaves, doves are one of the most beautiful and recognizable birds in North America. They’re also a beloved symbol of peace, love and hope.
While you may have heard that doves sleep in their nests, it’s important to understand that there is a difference between “nestling” and “roosting.” Birds typically don’t sleep in their nests at night unless they are raising young or protecting themselves from frigid temperatures during the winter.
Mourning doves typically sleep in trees and high perches because it is a way to stay away from predators while still allowing them to keep an eye out for potential danger. They will roost on branches, ledges and other structures in the wild or use bushes, buildings, and other human-made structures like roofs or porches.
During the breeding season, it’s not uncommon for a mourning dove to roost in the same place that their mate is sleeping, especially if they’re sharing a nest and taking turns looking out for eggs or chicks. Mourning doves can be found in many different habitats, including forests, meadows, open fields and even urban areas.
Mourning doves are a very social species and tend to gather in groups, or flocks, during the day. They are very active and tend to sleep in pairs, or with their partners, at night.