|Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)|
Just when we thought all nesting was over at the nature center, we're reminded that no one has told the mourning doves: the most family oriented species I can think of.
Mourning doves can have up to five broods a year; but oddly, a clutch size of two is the norm. Nesting can start as early as February if the weather allows it and the busy pair may continue to produce until November.
With this degree of fecundity, you'd expect there to be a lot of doves in the fall, as there is. Perhaps this is why there is still a limited dove hunting season in Tennessee.
You have to wonder: why not just raise one clutch of ten offspring per year and then fly to Aruba for a break. Nature works in mysterious ways.
The Ijams' nesting doves have found a safe and well-sheltered location behind the Visitor Center.
- Story and photo by Stephen Lyn Bales