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Hi! Last year you all helped me a lot when I found a young pigeon. Eventually I was able to release him in my barn loft and he rejoined his parents :)
Yesterday I found a very young mourning dove in the grass when I was mowing. He is nicely feathered but small and his tail is very short. I left him alone for about 6 hours but took him in last night and fed him. He would have had to slept on the ground out in my yard. I have cats, dogs and peacocks. I have a heat lamp and a large dog house size box I can keep birds in. Today, I let him out in my yard for the day(keeping the cats and dogs in). I saw the mother near him once. He can't fly yet- only flutter a little. I brought him in again tonight and fed him and have him back in the box for the night.

I guess I really know nothing about baby mourning doves and need your advice. Can they usually fly when they leave the nest or it it natural for them to be on the ground for a number of days? I want to do what is best for him but don't want him to freeze at night on the ground or die of starvation or get eaten by a predator. I don't know if the mother fed him or not today. Should I continue to care for him until he can fly? (I have baby bird food on hand for these situations plus know how to feed him since I cared for the baby pigeon last year). Thanks,

Sarah
 

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Well first check his crop, (his chest) if it feels pillowy and full then the mother and father have been feeding him, but if it feels empty, he won't last very long if he can't eat on his own yet, have you offered seed or water to him yet?
Having no tail will have a huge impact on flight. Does it look like the tail feathers have been pulled out or just not fully grown in yet? Because with most birds, including doves, the tail feathers are normally the last to fully grow in, along with feathers under their wings and the small feathers at the base of their beak.
If he's not picking up seed yet you mentioned you raised a baby pigeon, so you can feed him the same way, just a smaller amount.
I work at a wildlife center and the best advice we ever give out is to leave a fledgling where you found them rather then bringing them to a center. they need two or three days of fluttering around and resting before they fully learn how to fly, so it is perfectly normal for one to act that way, but the no tail concerns me. look up photos of doves to judge the age, also have you heard him make any noise yet? We also tell people to bring the babies indoors for the night in a box and return them in the morning and watch for the mom but it sounds like you already did the right thing! And by all means if he starts looking lathargic bring him in and feed him. What methed did you use for the pigeon baby?
 
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