Why Do Mourning Doves Sit Like This?

by Chris
(Niskayuna, NY, USA)

Very Early Dawn & After Dusk

Very Early Dawn & After Dusk

Birds Sit on Sidewalk after Roosting...




We live in upstate NY - near Albany. We are in a suburban area with some larger sanctuary areas nearby.

The last 4 mornings - right around dawn - two birds land on our sidewalk and make themselves comfortable - about 10 feet from the door. A few feet or so from the road - no traffic. It is a relatively unprotected area with only ground bushes 8-10" tall.

They don't walk or move around. They appear to lay down (no feet visible). I think they are doves - or similar size/shape - brownish grey.

Any idea why they are doing this instead of staying in their roost or looking for food?

There is nothing to eat on or near the sidewalk - and they just sit there. Four days in a row...


Hi Chris

As strange as this behavior seems, it is fairly typical for Mourning Doves and I wonder at it myself quite often.

Our Doves do the same thing only they sit on one of the fences or in the nearby trees, but sometimes on the cement patio stones.

They usually show up just as the first indication of sunrise begins.

They exhibit the same behavior in the evening, often sitting around the heated bird bath with their tail feathers lying in the water, remaining there until just after dark. Some of them appear to be sleeping.

Then they all of sudden fly off to their nighttime roost in the dark.

It seems in the morning after a long, cold night, they should fly right to the feeders and eat, but they don’t right away.

Mourning Doves have crops where they store seeds in these pouches called crops, so perhaps they are using that “cache” of food while they get used to the new day. The Cornell Lab Of Ornithology says one Mourning Dove was found with "17,200 bluegrass seeds in a single crop!"


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