Mourning doves are about 12 inches long and have pointed tails with white
along the edges. The birds are slate gray in color with tan or brownish breast
feathers. Their heads are small with a short beak and a black spot behind their
Doves can be found throughout Maryland. They live close to agricultural
fields and nest in deciduous and coniferous trees preferring the conifers. They
are the third most abundant and widely distributed bird in North America.
Doves feed almost entirely on small seeds scattered on the ground. Waste
grains of agricultural crops including corn, wheat, rye, and sunflowers are
important food items. They often eat seeds of grasses and weeds such as foxtail,
crabgrass, panicgrass, chickweed and smartweed. Doves drink water several times
The domestic pigeon or rock dove also lives in Maryland.
Doves eat small pieces of stone or gravel, commonly known as "grit", which is
stored in the gizzard and used to grind up the seeds they eat.
Photo of Mourning Dove, courtesy of goingslo, flickr
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401