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Donna Yates

Bloomington, IN, United States


Letting dog out back door (area about 50 feet from feeders and saw a dying Mourning Dove lying on the ground near the house. There are no windows above it and no obvious injury or cause of death.


Sick behavior


Dying Mourning Dove

22 replies on “Dying Mourning Dove”

JJ Jett says:

Is Orthomaxinsect for lawns poisonous to ground feeding doves? I found a recently deceased dove near the feeding area; the day before I had put down granules in the nearby lawn to control (attempted to) fireants. Ortho does not respond. Please comment.

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi JJ,
We cannot comment on any specific brands, but in general, we don’t recommend using any insecticides or herbicides at all near areas where you are feeding or attracting birds. Oftentimes their harmful effects are not restricted to just the target species. Many kinds of insecticides are highly toxic and improper use can harm humans and pets around the home, or birds, fish, and other nearby wildlife when spray drift or runoff enter natural habitats. Some can even impair a bird’s migratory abilities, affecting body mass and orientation, both of which are important for surviving long migrations. Here is a great article with references by our sister project, Habitat Network, to read for further information on the effects of insecticides, and some suggestions for safer alternatives. Let us know if you have questions!

Kristy says:


Just wanted to report I found two dead doves in our yard—each one found about two weeks apart. They had no wounds. There are no cats and we don’t use any herbicide or insecticide. The nearby train tracks do get sprayed with herbicide.

I’ve taken down the bird feeders and will clean them and may not put them up again until the Fall just in case there is a disease spreading.

Kerry says:

There is a momma dove that wont leave our outside hanging planter. She’s been nesting about 2-3 wks. Was shes been directly in the desert sun approx 6hrs aday. Im afraid shes dieing; what can I do?!

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Kerry, The best thing to do is give the nest some space. Sometimes birds may incubate longer than expected if the eggs turn out to be infertile, but birds also need to brood their nestlings for the first few days after hatching because the young cannot regulate their own temperature yet. In either situation, she will stop incubating when she feels comfortable to do so. Most birds would abandon the nest before it got to a point where they were near-death – it’s more evolutionarily beneficial to abandon an unsuccessful nest to begin again elsewhere, rather than putting all of their energy into a nest that may never succeed. If you start to notice behavior or injury however, please be sure to contact your local wildlife rehabilitator to be advised on the next steps before taking any action.

Susan Watters says:

I am at a loss and hope someone can help. Over the last month I have found over 55 Ring neck Doves dead in my yard. My neighbors are also finding them. I have tried call animal control, wildlife, and many others but no one seems to care. The birds I have found that are still alive are lethargic and won’t fly away. I have a pool and I think they are drawn to the water. I have had my pool water tested to see if that could b the problem. It wasn’t. I fear someone is poisoning them. Please help.

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Susan, It’s impossible to tell what killed a bird without a necropsy in most cases, but if you’re finding many dead birds, there are a few possibilities to consider; do they seem clustered in any one area? If they’re all under or near a window for example, it could be that they are victims of window strikes. Pesticides, herbicides, and other such chemicals are dangerous for birds as well, and many can look like small seeds – the birds could be affected either by eating the chemicals outright, or by eating insects or other items that have been treated. It’s best not to use any such chemicals (even some fertilizers) in a wildlife-friendly yard (read more here about Action #4 and this article on healthier alternatives). Disease is also possible; the best way to prevent disease spread is to clean feeders regularly (weekly to biweekly) with soap and then soak in a bleach solution (instructions here). There are several other possibilities, including predators such as cats, but these are often the most common culprits. It may also be good to talk to your state’s wildlife officials (if you haven’t already), as some states track diseases, such as West Nile Virus, in birds.

Susan says:

We actually sent a few birds to a vet for necropsy and it has been determined that they are being poisoned. I am so very sad to find this out as there is nothing that I can do. There have been over 100 Doves and several Pigeons that have been killed. Apparently its legal to do this.

Sara says:

Susan- where are you located ? I’m in Western NY and have found 4 dead Mourning Doves over the past two weeks. No injuries, no blood. Not near windows. I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing what you absolute shame that people would poison innocent animals!

Charlene Whitley says:

I have a dying mourning dove under bird feeder, been there three days. Weather is rainey. Can I approach it with food and water or just let nature take its course? I have a small dog that I have to accompany outside to keep away from the doves space. Can I do anything to comfort the bird?

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Charlene, it would be best to contact a certified wildlife rehabilitator for further advice. They have special federal permits and special training to advise in these situations.

Jennifer says:

Yesterday evening I saw a Mourning Dove just fall to the ground in mid flight. I went to look what was wrong, it moved once then I it stopped. Is it natural for a Mourning Dove to do this? This morning I saw one Mourning Dove by itself, I wonder if it is its mate. So sad.

Leonie says:

Hi , I am in South Africa. Since the 1st week of June, I have found 39 dead doves and a moment ago, I saw one on the ground- it kept swiveling its head in a contorted manner and staggering in a random direction. As I approached it flew off but was directionless and unco-ordinated wing flapping.
This is very concerning. Could it be 5 G related?
Each of the doves have sunken in eyes as if dehydrated. No blood, good body weight and feather condition. Mostly found under trees in the garden.

Kathy says:

Found a dead morning dove in my backyard. No wounds, no blood. Think it was the same one that had been at my bird bath 2 days ago just sitting on the edge. And the next day it was just standing in my yard with it’s eyes closed all by itself. I don’t know what happened to it today. I feel very bad about this. What is going on? I live in Grafton,Ohio.

Holly Grant, Project Assistant says:

Hi Kathy, we encourage you to reach out to your state wildlife agencies to report any dead birds that you find. It’s also a good idea to take you feeders and bird baths down to clean them regularly, especially when you see sick birds. You can read more about how to do so here.

Daniel says:

Speak about dying doves. We feed about 150 doves, mostly mourning doves and it’s mostly them that are dying. They crawl under something and that’s where they die. In the past 4 days we have found around 5 dead doves. Symptoms are runny stomach.
South Africa, Western Cape.

keeks says:

Hello I live in the city of Rosemead, California. I think you guys are right about the sprays killing the mourning doves…. i recommend a documentary called “Kiss the Ground” on Netflix. It tells some history about pesticides.. and its origin. pretty sad.

keeks says:

sorry i missed the whole comment part.. my mom has also found doves lying down dead in somewhat of a “peaceful manner”… one after another in different parts of my backyard…weeks apart.. my neighbor mentioned it might be pesticides … its very sad and scary. i have a shih tzu and its scary to fear for my dogs safety too…

C.Jeannette Elliott says:

Hello I have hanging planters and for the past three years what I believe to be a male mourning dove has had three different females nesting. What happens — or what seems to happen — is that in the night some other animal or bird comes and kills the mama bird. The question is: what would be killing the mama mourning Dove but leaving the babies? There’s no sign of her except a few feathers in the nest and on the ground that hint at a battle.
Is there anything I can do to protect her at night?

Heidi Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hello, open cup nests are notoriously difficult to protect from predators. Unfortunately, our best advice here is to try building and installing a nest cone for the doves in a different, more protected spot on your property. You can find more information on how and where to place one using the plans listed on the NestWatch website. Though we know it is sad to watch, please do not handle wild birds – this is against federal law without proper permits. In these situations it is best to first contact a local, certified wildlife rehabilitator, who will have the required training and permits.

Beth says:

We have unfortunately been finding dead mourning doves around our yard. They appear to be unharmed and we haven’t used any pesticides or fertilizers. We’re very concerned; any advice? Thank you in advance.

Heidi Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hello Beth, thank you for reaching out. Dead birds may be the result of widow strikes, pesticides from other sources, illness, or something else. It is impossible to tell for sure what may have caused their deaths. For more info, you can visit the Safe Feeding Environment section of our Feeding Birds page. Here, you can see how to take care of feeders if you suspect a bird illness, how to prevent window crashes, and what to do if you suspect there is a predator around.

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