Mourning Doves Mate for Life

Monogamous, mourning doves mate for life (Stewart and Mackey 1954, Laub 1956, Jackson 1963, Brackbill 1970, Blockstein 1986a) and are often seen at backyard feeders as lifelong bonded pairs. During courtship (which is continual), pairs mutually wink or blink with seductive turning and nodding of the head to reinforce their relationship.

Because both parents are required to successfully fledge young (Laub 1956, Lack 1968, Wittenberger 1979 and Tilson 1980, Bivings 1980, Hass 1980 and 1981, Mirarchi 1981, Scanlon 1981), evolution, through natural selection, has molded strong intricate pair bonds that favor an obligate paternal investment that increases the survival of the species (Laub 1968, Wittenberger 1979 and Tilson 1980).

Cited science is from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in addition to Ecology and Management of the Mourning Dove, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.


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