5 Tips to Bring Mourning Doves to Your Yard

Mourning Doves have gone viral on TikTok. Many millennials (myself included) now recognize them as the birds we grew up hearing during our childhood summer breaks. Their soft cooing on hot summer afternoons is full of nostalgia, just like the Backstreet Boys’ Millennium album.

Full-blown nostalgia.

But I have good news: These birds are still abundant in neighborhoods across the country, just like they were 20 years ago. They didn’t go anywhere!

With a few simple steps, you can easily attract Mourning Doves to your yard hear their calls regularly. I follow these steps and usually have several Mourning Doves stopping by my feeders. I enjoy watching them poke and bob around on the ground pecking for seed.

I’ve also supplemented my personal experience with scientific sources, including the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon Society.

Here are five simple steps you can take to attract Mourning Doves to your yard.

First, Here’s the Range Map For Mourning Doves

Orange: Breeding-Only, Purple: Year-round range, Blue: Non-breeding only

A map showing the range of Mourning Doves.
The range map for Mourning Doves. Image source: Wikipedia

1. Provide Food Mourning Doves Like – White Millet and Sunflower

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Feed me millet, sunflower chips and safflower seeds.

Mourning Doves love visiting bird feeders for a snack. So, providing them with a variety of seeds is a great way to attract them to your yard.

I’ve had the best luck offering white millet or sunflower chips. White millet is also backed up by the Cornell Bird Lab as a favorite food source for Mourning Doves. They don’t have large beaks to break through regular shelled sunflower seed. Safflower seed and cracked corn are also appealing.

My local doves also love when I put out a no-mess bird seed (which has both of these ingredients).

Also, Mourning Doves are big. They prefer to either feed on a sturdy platform feeder or straight from the ground.

Related Content: 5 Bird Feeder Livestreams That Will Capture Your Attention

2. Offer Water

Mourning Doves appreciate water for drinking and bathing. So, providing them with a source of water in your yard is a nice touch. A sturdy bird bath will work wonders in bringing birds to your yard year-round.

Consider buying a larger bird bath for Mourning Doves. They’re larger than most other songbirds and need the support.

Also, be sure to refresh the water and clean your bird bath regularly to avoid mold, bacteria and other nasty stuff from accumulating to harm birds.

YouTube: Pwalpar

3. Plant Natural, Native Vegetation

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Mourning Doves appreciate having a variety of trees and shrubs to hang out in.

Like a bird bath, this is a universal tip for more birds in your yard. Mourning Doves love having a variety of spots to perch, so planting native plants and trees in your yard can make it more appealing to them.

Mourning Doves also spend a lot of time on the ground (especially when eating) and fertilizer can be harmful. Consider cutting down your pesticide use and/or letting your lawn grow a little more during the summer.

Related Content: Ranking the Effectiveness of Squirrel Bird Feeder Deterrents

4. Provide a Nest Shelf in the Spring

Mourning Doves will nest in a variety of places, you can easily find them nesting on apartment buildings, brush, trees and even chimneys. But, giving them a sturdy-built nest shelf 10-15 feet in the air can be especially appealing.

I like this shelf design you can find from Menards linked here. This shelf on Amazon is also appealing.

Want to do it yourself? I liked this DIY dove nest box video tutorial on YouTube below.

YouTube: BTR Outdoors

Mourning Doves won’t use nest boxes as they prefer more open spaces. They don’t like to be cut off while nesting.

5. Keep Your Cats Inside

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Look, I absolutely love cats. But, outdoor cats kill billions of birds in the United States every year. Mourning Doves are especially vulnerable to cats as they love to eat from the ground and are larger birds.

So, do your local birds a favor and keep your cats indoors. It’s especially vital if you’d like more Mourning Doves to live and visit your yard!