Intro: Mourning doves are a light gray-brown color with black spots on their wings. These wild birds are usually be heard before they are seen because of their distinctive cooing call and a whistle to their flapping wings when they take off in flight or when they land. These fast fliers (up to 55 miles per hour) are so numerous that they are the most-hunted wild birds in the United States.
Species Name: Zenaida macroura
Habitat: Southern Canada, continental United States, Mexico. Central America in the winter.
How to Attract: Although they usually forage on the ground, they are attracted to birdfeeders and will come to balconies. Be sure your birdseed mix contains corn, millet, safflower and sunflower seeds.
Misc. Info: Mourning doves are monogamous and can have up to six broods (with two chicks per brood) a year. Mortality is high in the young, so not all 12 chicks will survive. Mourning dove nests are flimsy, so you may find their broken eggs on the floor.
While some people enjoy the cooing of mourning doves, you may not, so be sure you’d like to live with these wild birds before trying to attract them. If you find some and do not want them in your balcony garden, get rid of any birdseed and if there is a nest, get rid of it (there may not be eggs yet). You can also try to shoo them away from your container plant garden before they settle in. They will find another spot to stay.