The Mourning Dove is one of the most common backyard wild birds that you will see in the Atlanta area.
Mourning doves get their name from their soft mournful calls. Their sad song is very familiar “ooah-cooo-cooo-coo” This wild bird is larger than a cardinal yet smaller than a common pigeon. Mourning doves are 2 shades of gray. Their top sides are a darker gray with black specs and they are a solid light gray underneath.
Mourning doves will visit a backyard bird feeder. However, this bird is normally found on the ground searching for seed and grain. If you would like to feed this particular bird on your wild bird feeder then simply get one with a large perch. A “fly through” feeder or a “platform” feeder would work fine.
To attract the mourning doves provide a seed blend with millet and corn. Although the dove will eat most seeds and grains a lot of songbirds will not. Many species of songbirds like goldfinches and woodpeckers will just kick the millet and corn to the ground. These birds want the sunflower hearts (goldfinch) and roasted peanut halves (woodpeckers). By providing a wild bird seed with grains in your feeder you will automatically be “feeding” the ground birds like the mourning dove.
Here’s a bonus about seeds with grains like millet and corn… They are typically less expensive. Wild Bird Seed get more expensive as you take the grains out. Here’s an example from our NE Atlanta Wild Bird Center, A $20 lbs bag of sunflower hearts runs around $31, a $20 bag of millet is about $13, and a 50 lbs bag of cracked corn is around $20. So it reasons that the more grains placed in the specialty seed blend the less expensive the product.
To turn this around if we would like to keep the mourning doves away (because they can eat a lot and they come in flocks) you have to do 2 things well. 1) Provide a feeder that has a small perch. A typical “tube feeder” would be just fine for all songbirds cardinal and smaller. (2 provide a hulled premium, no mess, no grain blend. The reason the premium seed works WITH the tube feeder is that very little food will be kicked to the ground. Also with premium blends EVERYTHING on the ground gets eaten quickly.
About the Author: David Peterson is the owner of the Best Nest of Georgia, Inc. which includes in its corporate family a retail store in NE Atlanta called the Wild Bird Center of Johns Creek Georgia. The Wild Bird Center focuses on bringing nature to your backyard using bird seed, bird feeders, mealworms, and bird houses to attract wild birds to your yard. You can reach the Wild Bird Center at 770-418-1990 or by contacting David via email: firstname.lastname@example.org