Thursday, June 3, 2010

Meet The Doves

It's been several years now since I walked into the Rensselaer Pet Bird Store and saw what I still swear was a pair of lemon yellow Ringneck Doves. I went back to buy them, but by then they'd already been sold. The internet indicates that there are no doves that color and the owner of he store couldn't remember what color they were. Nevertheless, I was intrigued with the animals and began to read up on them. I then found a pair of male doves, raised together because they were brothers, for sale in Amsterdam. I bought them and the seller gave me an old parrot cage in which to keep them. Then I found a flock of white Ringneck Doves and bought two females. The seller couldn't sex them, but having had pigeons for years and years, I felt pretty sure that I could do it. I turned out to have been right.

I bought another cage and set my doves up as couples. They began nesting immediately and I was fascinated. They seemed so friendly. When I let them out, they'd often land on my shoulder. They let me handle their babies. I began to think that Ringneck Doves must be darn near perfect pets. So I ordered two fancy colored doves all the way from Nebraska.

They had more and more babies and I quickly learned that there isn't much of a market for Ringneck Doves. So I bought wooden eggs and began substituting them for the real thing to keep the population explosion from sinking me. All has been fine ever since, but this past week I began allowing my two pairs of fancy doves to begin nests.

So here's the first pair:
The one with the "silky" feathers is a fancy male dove with pied coloration. He's exceptionally gentle and tame. His partner is a pink eyed white female who was one of my original doves. She's also extraordinarily gentle and, in fact, requires a gentle male who won't be mean to her:

This is my pied silky. He came from Nebraska as a peace offering. I'd ordered two doves and the seller felt guilty for taking so long to ship them, so he threw in this silky as a bonus:

The other pair who have begun a nest are this pied female on the left and this "wild pied" male on the right:

Both of these doves came from Nebraska. The female was very young and always gentle. The male was quite skittish when he arrived but has become much more trusting and gentle:

I let my doves and parakeet out to fly around my room each morning while I clean their cages and fill their seed and water cups. They are gentle, but I've come to believe it is less a matter of their good intentions than of simple stupidity. They not only land on my shoulder but also fly directly and stupidly right into the side of my head. Let's just say they're no rocket scientists:

Both pairs now have nests in progress, two eggs in each nest. I'll take photos and post updates as the families progress. In the meantime, let me know if any of your friends would like to buy a baby dove:


  1. Would you be able to tell from a picture if I have a male or female and species of dove ?

    1. No, it's mostly guesswork, comparing the size of the bird's breast (males have bigger chests) and how they act. A male will sometimes strut, especially if there is a female around. Of course, an adult female will likely lay eggs. They will only be fertile if a male is present, but her body will produce eggs anyway.