Mourning Doves are very lazy nest builders. They often will find an abandoned nest that was created by another type of bird or they build their own very poorly constructed nest. Often they will reuse their nest for 4 to 5 sets of eggs. With the large size of their hatchlings, the nest often gives out causing the baby birds to tumble to the ground. If you ever see young doves on the ground don’t pick them up! Their mother and father are sure to be close by watching and feeding them.
Many people often think they have been abandoned and try to care for the young themselves. This is not only illegal in many states, but often an impossible task. Doves are one of the only birds that feed their young “milk” produced by the parents from glands in their crop. If their young does not get this “milk” they will likely be undeveloped and unhealthy at adulthood. If you see young doves on the ground the best thing you can do is leave them alone and help to keep other pets away from them until they are old enough to fly. This usually isn’t more than a week after finding them on the ground.
Eggs hatch in about 14-16 days and become Fledge ( Fledge is the stage in a young bird’s life when the feathers and wing muscles are sufficiently developed for flight ) in about 12-14 days after hatching. The parents will still care for the young until they reach between 25-27 days of age where they will be left to be on their own.