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Why Do Mourning Doves Chase Each Other? What You Need to Know!

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mourning dove perched on a branch

If you see two birds chasing each other in your backyard, it’s common to think that the reason is that they’re playing a game. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. With mourning doves, the reason that they’re chasing each other is almost always because they’re fighting.

So, why do mourning doves chase one another, how serious do those fights get, and is there anything that you can do to stop it? We break it all down for you here.

hummingbird divider

Why Do Mourning Doves Chase Each Other?

While there are a few different reasons that a mourning dove might chase another mourning dove, the most common reason is that one is encroaching on the other’s territory. Mourning doves are extremely territorial, especially with other mourning doves.

Another potential reason is that two male mourning doves are competing for the attention of a female. Either way, when you have mourning doves chasing each other, it’s normally not because they’re playing a game.

Do Mourning Doves Mate for Life?

Yes, mourning doves mate for life, which is likely why mourning doves chasing each other is a territorial dispute instead of a courtship routine.

While males do compete for the attention of a female, once they win the female over, they don’t have to go through that again, they just have to protect their territory from other mourning doves.

However, if one mourning dove does die, it’s common for the surviving dove to find a new mate.

Image Credit: 6591713, Pixabay

Do Doves Fight With Each Other?

Yes, doves fight with each other. Mourning doves are among the few birds that will actually kill off rivals, meaning that to the dove, it’s a big deal to encroach on another dove’s territory.

So, not only will you see mourning doves chasing each other but also pecking, clawing, and doing just about anything else that the mourning dove can pull off.

How Long Does a Mourning Dove Live?

In the wild, the mourning dove typically doesn’t live all that long. In fact, the average life span of a wild mourning dove is only about 1.5 years.

This short average lifespan is especially surprising considering that the maximum lifespan of the mourning dove is much longer. The oldest living wild mourning dove was 31 years old!

mourning dove sleeping

Image Credit: daledbet, Pixabay

Can You Stop Mourning Doves From Chasing Each Other?

While you might want to stop the bird fights occurring in your yard, the truth is that you probably can’t. The mourning dove is simply a territorial bird, and they don’t get along with other mourning doves in their territory.

They typically resolve these types of issues on their own, and the most common resolution is that one mourning dove simply leaves the area.

But if you’re looking to teach them to all get along in the same space, that’s not likely to happen no matter what you do.

hummingbird dividerFinal Thoughts

While it’s not the most enjoyable thing to watch two birds fight in your yard, if you have a couple of male mourning doves hanging around, it’s bound to happen.

They’re territorial birds, so don’t expect a whole flock of them to live in your backyard, even if it is a mourning dove’s paradise.


Featured Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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