What do Mourning Doves Eat? Here’s What Their Diet Look Like

What do Mourning Doves Eat

American Mourning doves are members of the dove family Columbidae. These birds are most abundant and widespread in North America.

These birds often live in warm places and migrate when winter arrives. However, do you know what these birds commonly eat?

So In this article, I’ve explained all the details related to the diet of the mourning doves. 

What Do Mourning Doves Eat?

Mourning doves are vegetarian foragers and prefer grass and weed seeds. Seed like Doveweed is best for attracting these birds to the same feeding place again and again.

There are various kinds of grasses and weed seeds that are often consumed by mourning doves. This includes panic grasses, colorado grasses, sorghum, foxtail, pigweeds, plains bristlegrass, and Johnsongrass.

If you want to feed doves through feeders then they are particularly fond of grains. The seeds that can be included in a bird feeder include milo, millet, black oil sunflower seeds, grain sorghum, cracked corn, and safflower seeds. 

What do Mourning Doves eat in the Wild?

The diet of the mourning doves includes wild grass seeds, herbs, and weed seeds as these birds have a complete diet entirely based on seeds.

However, they may also eat from berry bushes and seed-bearing flowers but it depends on the wild environment. 

What do Baby Mourning Doves Eat?

Among these mourning doves species, both male and female feed their young a substance called crop milk. This is a milk-like substance that is similar to the consistency of cottage cheese.

It is high in protein, fat, and rich in antioxidants. The baby doves love to have crop milk, especially in the first week of their life.

After this, the parents of these baby mourning doves offer softened seeds. Baby doves eat these seeds exclusively during their third week. 

When it comes to crop milk, this milk is made from the parents’ crops. This means a portion of the esophagus that stores the food before digestion.

It requires an infusion of protein and fat-rich cells from the lining of this sac to produce the crop milk. This milk doesn’t have any seeds for the first few days of life.

Therefore, adult doves may not eat for days before the eggs hatch to provide this milk to their young ones so that they can digest it easily. 

What do Mourning Doves Eat in the Winter?

The diet of the mourning doves is dependent on warm-weather conditions and due to which they migrate to the southern states.

This includes Mexico or Central America where they can consume their usual diet. In southern states, mourning doves can be residential and can stay year-round as it has lengthy summer. 

Do Mourning Doves Eat from Feeders?

Mourning doves usually prefer tray feeders or to eat from wide-open platforms. They naturally feed off the ground below the feeders but it is as long as seed husks aren’t prolific.

The seed under the feeders should include wheat, corn, milo, shelled sunflower seeds, and millet. Even grass and flower seeds are the favorite meal of the mourning doves. 

What should not be fed to Mourning Doves?

Mourning doves prefer seeds that are without shells. Certain sunflower seeds and peanuts in the shell are not an attractive option for these birds, especially black-striped sunflower seeds.

They do not eat flax or canary seed. Even iceberg lettuce and bread should be avoided as they are low in nutritional content.

Mourning doves do not prefer fruit and nectar feeders and cylinders feeders as they found them unattractive. 

Do Mourning Doves Eat Mealworms?

Mourning doves often do not prefer mealworms or insects. They do not eat insects and offering this can be the best way to keep these birds out of the yard.

This meal is not preferred by these birds and it is not even good for them. This meal can put the doves at the risk of fatty liver disease. 

Do Mourning Doves Eat Sunflower seeds?

Mourning doves avoid the black-striped sunflower seeds but they may eat black oil sunflower seeds.

The beaks of these birds are not meant for cracking open shells due to which they get especially attracted to the shelled sunflower seeds. Otherwise, they can swallow the seed in the shell whole. 

Do Mourning Doves prefer Peanuts?

Mourning doves can prefer peanuts as long as it is shelled. They are high in fat and protein which can be a good option for the winter season. However, it is necessary to avoid raw peanuts or peanut hearts. 

Do Mourning Doves Eat Safflower Seeds?

Safflower seeds of good size are perfect for mourning doves as birds prefer these seeds in their meal. Safflower seeds are high in protein and fat and are conical seeds.

In addition to this, you can use these seeds in the feeders if squirrels are constantly attacking your feeders. It is so because squirrels don’t like safflower seeds and therefore, they don’t attack these seeds. 

Do Mourning doves prefer Cracked Corns?

Yes, Mourning Doves prefer cracked corn in their meal. Cracked corns are the source of protein and fiber-rich options which act as the best supplement seed for these doves.

You can spread a small number of cracked corns on the grounds and it will be easily consumed within a day and it will prevent the grains from molding. 


When it comes to feeding any bird, it becomes important to know their interest and the sources that can attract a bird. The same applies to the mourning doves. Often these birds are fond of weeds and grains. 

At last, I hope you will get something useful from this article. Thank You For Reading!

Related Articles You May Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top