Mourning doves are beautiful birds that are known for their gentle cooing sounds and graceful flight. They are commonly seen perched atop telephone wires or flying through the air, and many people find them to be a symbol of peace and solace. But have you ever wondered how long these birds live?
Adult mourning doves live in the wild for about two years on average. Although two years may appear to be a short time, it is a remarkable achievement for a bird that is only 12 inches long and weighs less than half a pound.
However, there have been reports of them living for five, ten, or even thirty years! Let’s explore the average lifespan of mourning doves, both in captivity and the wild, as well as the factors that contribute to their lifespan and more.
What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Mourning Dove?
The lifespan of a mourning dove can vary depending on whether it is living in the wild or in captivity. In the wild, the average lifespan of a mourning dove is about 1-2 years. But some have been known to live up to 4 years in the wild.
In captivity, mourning doves can live much longer. With proper care, they can live up to 20 years or more. Captive doves may not have the same quality of life as their wild counterparts. So that’s why they tend to live longer than the wild ones.
The lifespan of a mourning dove varies depending on where it lives. Mourning doves live longer in the southern part of their range than in the northern part. This could be due to factors such as climate, food and water availability, and predation.
Why Do Mourning Doves Live Such Short Lives?
Despite being common backyard birds, mourning doves have relatively short lifespans. Here are some reasons why:
Mourning doves are preyed upon by various predators such as hawks, owls, falcons, snakes, and even cats. In the wild, the risk of predation is high, and many doves do not survive long enough to reach old age.
Disease and illness
Mourning doves suffer from a multitude of ailments, including viral, bacterial, protozoan, and fungal infections.
Among these, Trichomoniasis stands out as a particularly prevalent parasitic protozoan disease, characterized by the formation of obstructive yellow growths in the dove’s oral cavity.
Though often asymptomatic, these growths can eventually lead to starvation. Another significant affliction affecting doves is Avian pox, while diverse fungal species have been identified in their gastrointestinal tracts.
Healthy adult birds usually remain immune to such fungal infections, especially during the warmer months of spring and summer. Furthermore, a wide range of parasites can affect doves at different stages of their life cycle, such as both fledglings and mature birds.
During hot and dry weather, the availability of food and water sources can become scarce, leading to malnutrition and dehydration. This can have a direct impact on the health and reproductive success of mourning doves.
These birds are heavily reliant on seeds and grains as their main source of food, and without access to these resources, they may not be able to produce enough energy to sustain themselves and their offspring.
Human activities, particularly habitat destruction, hunting, and pollution, have had a significant impact on the populations of many bird species, including the mourning dove.
These activities not only reduced the overall population of these birds but also had an effect on their lifespans.
Why Some Mourning Doves Live Longer Than Others?
The duration of mourning doves’ lifespan is subject to a multitude of factors, including their genetics, diet, and surroundings. The potential reasons why certain mourning doves may outlive their counterparts are as follows:
- Genetics: Some mourning doves may be born with genes that allow them to live longer than others. Just like in humans, genetics can play a role in the lifespan of these birds.
- Diet: A balanced and nutritious diet can contribute to a longer lifespan. Mourning doves that have access to a diverse range of food sources are more likely to have a longer lifespan.
- Environment: A safe and secure environment with fewer predators and ample food and water can increase a mourning dove’s lifespan. Doves that live in cities and suburbs may have more access to food and shelter than those that live in rural areas.
While certain factors might affect how long mourning doves live, there are a ton of other things that could come into play. So, we can’t really know for sure why some of these beauties stick around longer than others.
What Steps are Being Taken to Safeguard Mourning Doves?
Mourning doves face various threats to their survival, but several conservation efforts are in place to protect them. Some of these efforts include:
Preserve the peaceful coos of mourning doves by safeguarding their sanctuary. These lovely birds flourish in open habitats such as fields, grasslands, and prairies.
By sheltering their lands from urban or agricultural conversion, we can ensure their survival and maintain the tranquil harmony of our natural world.
The effective management of mourning dove populations is accomplished through the implementation of comprehensive hunting regulations.
These regulations serve to govern the permissible bag limits, season lengths, and hunting methods employed by hunters.
The primary objective of such measures is to ensure that the population of mourning doves remains at sustainable levels, thus mitigating any potential adverse impacts on the ecological balance of the environment.
Education and Outreach
Educating the public about the importance of mourning doves and their habitat is crucial to their survival.
Organizations like the National Audubon Society and the Mourning Dove Partnership work to provide education and outreach to the public about the importance of protecting these birds.
The management of avian predators, such as hawks and owls, in conjunction with serpents, is critical to limit the impact on mourning dove populations.
Effective preservation methodologies, including habitat management and predator removal interventions, can be implemented to safeguard these species.
Conducting research on mourning dove populations and their behaviors can help scientists and conservationists understand the threats facing them and develop effective conservation strategies.
Amazing Facts About Mourning Doves
Mourning doves have an average lifespan of 2 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity. Various factors contribute to their short lifespan, including predation, disease, environmental factors, and hunting.
Some Mourning doves can live longer due to genetic factors and environmental conditions. Sadly, many doves perish as fledglings due to nest failures, predation, and inclement weather.
To safeguard these birds, efforts are being made to protect their habitat, regulate hunting practices, and increase public awareness. Despite the challenges, the remarkable resilience of Mourning doves is demonstrated by the oldest known dove, which lived for over 30 years.