Should I move a mourning dove nest?

Answered by James Kissner

Should I move a mourning dove nest?

As an expert, I strongly advise against moving a mourning dove nest whenever possible. Mourning doves are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States, which makes it illegal to disturb their nests or harm the birds in any way. It’s important to prioritize the well-being of wildlife and respect their natural habitats.

However, there may be some exceptional circumstances where moving a mourning dove nest becomes necessary. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is essential to ensure that the nest is actually abandoned and no new birds have moved in. Here are some guidelines to follow if you must move a mourning dove nest:

1. Determine if the nest is abandoned: Observe the nest closely for a reasonable period, typically a few hours or even a day. If you don’t see any adult mourning doves returning to the nest during this time, it’s possible that the nest has been abandoned.

2. Check for eggs or nestlings: Carefully examine the nest to see if there are any eggs or nestlings present. If you find eggs, it’s likely that the mourning doves are still actively using the nest. In this case, it is crucial to leave the nest undisturbed.

3. Assess the situation: If you are certain that the nest is abandoned and there are no eggs or nestlings inside, you can consider moving the nest. However, keep in mind that it is always best to leave the nest where you found it if possible.

4. Choose a new location: If you decide to move the nest, select a location nearby that closely resembles the original site. Mourning doves typically build their nests in trees or shrubs, so find a similar habitat that provides cover and protection.

5. Be gentle and cautious: Carefully remove the nest from its original location, ensuring not to damage it. Place the nest in its new location, taking care to position it securely. Avoid any sudden movements or loud noises that could startle nearby birds or attract predators.

6. Monitor the nest: After moving the nest, keep a close eye on it to see if any mourning doves return. If the birds do not come back within a few hours, it’s possible that they have abandoned the nest for good.

Remember, moving a mourning dove nest should always be a last resort. It is essential to respect the laws and regulations in place to protect these birds and their habitats. If you are unsure about the status of a nest or need further guidance, consider reaching out to local wildlife authorities or organizations for assistance.