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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My kids found a 5 day old mourning dove about 1 month ago after a wind storm and we took it in and took care of it. Baby bird as it is called has done very well, but does not have any interest in going out side and I think my little ones may have handled it abit to much and baby bird thinks it is a person. We bought it a cage (very large). We have called the wild live rehabs in our community and where told they have no room for doves but that we are not allowed to keep it? I guess they just want us to put it outside and wait for some animal to eat it and we just can not do that. My question is, is it really illegal to keep this bird in ohio and should we get another dove from a pet store so it will have company other then people. Also I am having a hard time getting it to eat dove seed it would rather be feed baby bird food by us. Any advice would be great
 

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It is really illegal to keep this bird in the US. They are protected by the migratory bird act. Now that the rehabs know you have it, you could get fined and have the bird taken away if they realize you've kept it.

Peck at the seeds with your fingertips and act like you are "eating." This helped my baby ringnecks learn. I would do this and then offer them a handfull of seed to peck. They quickly learned to eat from my hand. (You might avoid hand-feeding, as this could be a dangerous habit in the wild.) Also, make sure little one is drinking properly. You can help teach this by dipping the beak into the water dish several time a day, but be sure to keep the nostrils out of the water.

You will need to do a slow release here with the baby watching other birds. Others here have experience doing this, and will probably come along to add their 2 cents.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. If you have found that you really enjoy doves, you might try keeping ringneck doves (if there are allergies in your family consider keeping outdoors--I just had to give away my ringnecks for this reason,) a small loft of pigeons, or a pair/quartet/etc of diamond dove hens in a flight cage (like what I have right now.) (Btw, diamond dove hens are the quietest birds that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.)
 

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*an aside because part of me feels really bad that you'll have to give up Baby Bird--you're positive that this is a mourning dove? Because if it is, then yes it's protected. If it's a white winged dove it's also protected (though unlikely to be in your state.) But if you're lucky and very wrong about species it could be a Eurasian collared dove which is an invasive species and legal to keep. Anyways, since you were able to successfully raise the little one, I doubt that this is a possibility, and most likely you have done enough research to know that this is a little mourning dove.... but I thought I'd mention the invasive doves just in case.

Eurasian collared:


mourning:


(pics from wikipedia)
 

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My kids found a 5 day old mourning dove about 1 month ago after a wind storm and we took it in and took care of it. Baby bird as it is called has done very well, but does not have any interest in going out side and I think my little ones may have handled it abit to much and baby bird thinks it is a person. We bought it a cage (very large). We have called the wild live rehabs in our community and where told they have no room for doves but that we are not allowed to keep it? I guess they just want us to put it outside and wait for some animal to eat it and we just can not do that. My question is, is it really illegal to keep this bird in ohio and should we get another dove from a pet store so it will have company other then people. Also I am having a hard time getting it to eat dove seed it would rather be feed baby bird food by us. Any advice would be great
Because the bird is a wild species it is really a good idea for it to be released if possible, which in turn you're kids can learn a valuble lesson in that wild animals/birds are not pets. parrot type birds in pet stores, they were wild at one time and some still are and they are still taken from the wild because of the pet industry, so wild things need to be wild and kept that way. I think if you can call the rehab place back and say when this dove is weaned and ready you would like for them to release it for you..perhaps with some others they have there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank all of you out there. Baby bird is starting to eat some seed on its own. But I think I will never understand why we can not keep baby bird in a safe place when in my state you are allowed to hunt these wonderful little birds. Baby bird by my own fault became so very tame and it does not understand danger. Does not know how to look for its own food. I do feel as if all I did was prolong its life for just a little while. My kids do understand that wild life should live in the wild and are not ever pets, but in this situation it should be different. We have rescued several little birds and have been able to set them free, but baby bird was so young it does not even remember that it came from a bird. But once again thank all of you wonderful people out here with words of wisdom and advice on how to get baby bird to eat on its own.
 

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Thank all of you out there. Baby bird is starting to eat some seed on its own. But I think I will never understand why we can not keep baby bird in a safe place when in my state you are allowed to hunt these wonderful little birds. Baby bird by my own fault became so very tame and it does not understand danger. Does not know how to look for its own food. I do feel as if all I did was prolong its life for just a little while. My kids do understand that wild life should live in the wild and are not ever pets, but in this situation it should be different. We have rescued several little birds and have been able to set them free, but baby bird was so young it does not even remember that it came from a bird. But once again thank all of you wonderful people out here with words of wisdom and advice on how to get baby bird to eat on its own.
Sometimes I struggle with that question, too, but if the birds were not protected, people could just take them from the wild whenever they wanted. This could really screw up our natural balance in the ecosystem, and potentially separate mates, or parents from babies. It's messed up that they are able to be hunted, but the number taken is at least limited that way. (I really don't think it is right to hunt a healthy animal with less than one serving of meat. :( )
 

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I would keep trying to find a rehabber who is raising mourning doves already, as they do much better when released if they are raised with others of their kind. Any rehabber already raising mourning doves would probably jump at the opportunity to add yours to their group, to improve the chances in the wild.
 
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