Behavior

Wings 

  • Wing wobbling
    • No sound when performed by adults. Babies will make high pitched peeps
    • Babies wobble their wings and poke their bills at the parents face to stimulate feeding.
    • Adult females will engage in wing wobbling to stimulate the male into deep billing and feeding. Some may argue that the male is not actually feeding the female during 'billing" but I have seen the males pump their heads up and down as they are regurgitating the food from their crop and the female put their bills extra deep into the back of the male's mouth for a morsel of food which is offered as part of the mating ritual not to feed the female. It is representational of the male providing food for the female sitting on a nest and babies. If the male pumps his head to regurgitate food and his crop is empty then they will go through the motions without the exchange of food, but usually the male will partake of food just prior to the billing so he is able to comply with her demands.
    • When the male wants the female to relieve him on the nest or to pay attention to him or wants to cuddle, he will wobble just one wing and turn his head to the side with a coy look. If she is not responding, he will add soft coo's with the one winged wobbling to get her attention.
  • Wing Stretching
    • Doves have a daily wing stretching ritual. This keeps their wing and leg muscles in condition.
    • The dove will stretch one wing and one leg on the same side, full spread behind them. They also use this to impress another dove.
    • The doves will also stretch both wings behind them. This is also a defensive posture that keeps another male dove from jumping on the dove's back to mount them.
    • For defense, the dove will raise one wing on the opposite side of the attack while keeping the wing down on the attack side to protect the tender parts of their body from attack. Better that a cat sink its teeth into a wing rather than the torso.
    • The dove will also raise one wing to absorb the heat of the sun rays and will also stretch one wing behind while laying in the sun.
    • Doves also use their wings for boxing in a fight.
    • Doves will also use their wings when needed to balance or prevent a fall.
    • If the cage is the right size the doves will flap their wings and hover in the cages. The doves should have the opportunity to fly around the room a few times a week. They will only fly for a minute or two because they prefer to perch most of the time, so once or twice around the room would be fine and then return them to the cage if you are not set up for the doves to perch outside of the cage.
    • If the dove is allowed to remain out of the cage, then the room should be absolutely secure from animals, children and other hazards such as water, poisonous item, etc.

     

  • Wing Other
    • When the dove is hot, they will hold their wings away from their body. If the dove is also panting, you should check the temperature and water supply to provide cooling, fans or air conditioning.
    • Doves will often rest on their wings to give their feet a rest. Often the dove can be seen with their weight resting on the bottom edges of their wings. This keeps their weight off of their keel bone and their feet. Sometimes the dove will also lift one leg when resting.
    • Wings are also used for fighting and boxing.

Fighting

  • Doves will fluff out their feathers to look larger.
  • The males will emit the challenge laugh and bow & coo warnings.
  • The males will wing box each other and att

 

 

Body Language

  • Body language is mostly silent
  • When one of the males is annoyed (such as when I remove his mate and place her near another male) he will jump down on the bottom of his cage very hard, like a big stomp as loud as possible to let his annoyance be known. Sometimes the male will emit a frustrated bark, such as click to hear sound.
  • Doves will also fluff their feathers to look larger or preen to stimulate interest from their partner. Some will stretch one wing and one leg to show off their feathers (this is also part of their daily stretching ritual.)
  • Doves love to cuddle and nibble their partner's necks.
  • When doves are ill, they will fluff up and squat down on the perch with closed eyes, or worse when in the corner on the bottom of the cage.
  • Males will also try to stand on their toes to be taller that the other males or females as a form of asserting seniority.
  • When defending against attack, a dove will raise the wing on the opposite side of the attacker. The reason they do not raise the wing on the side of the attack is not to expose the tender area underneath the wing to attack. When thwarting off a more vicious attack, the dove will raise both wings together behind their back and  will lay the head all the way back with the bill pointing up. If necessary, the dove will feign unconsciousness. If protecting babies, the dove may feign injury to lead the attacker away from the babies.

Disposition as a pet:

Doves are very sweet and entertaining companions. They are truly the ideal pet to have. Unlike other birds, doves do not bite, screech or harm other creatures. They are peace-loving birds who emit a gentle cooing sound. They are very sedate and easy to tame. If you want a safe pet for your children or a gentle pet for a senior who is a shut in or alone and needs a companion: a dove is the ideal pet to try. Doves are inexpensive. Less than $30. Easy to feed and take care of, doves keep their feathers preened and neat. Doves love personal attention and like to be held and petted often. 

Physical attributes:

The Dove bill is soft and cannot penetrate the skin like a parrot. It cannot even crack the shell on a seed. Much to the surprise of most people, the dove is very sensitive to pain on their bills. Especially in the nose area. If you lightly touch the nose with a feather the dove is so sensitive that it will sneeze. If you watch closely, the dove can make a number of expressions by stretching and bending its bill. It can purse the end of the bill, stretch the bottom of the bill near the head much like the expressions of the mouth and make a large gaping yawn which is actually a way of relieving the gas build up from the fermenting seeds. Also to release excess unused air in the crop after doing a lot of cooing. However, I have one dove that will voluntarily yawn repeatedly in response to human kissing noises. 

The dove does not have a voice box and can only emit cooing sounds by puffing up their crop and blowing air. When Bowing and Cooing, the dove will pump up the crop like a frog just before the cooing begins.

Defenses:

The doves have claws, but mainly use them for gripping, landing, mating and keeping their balance. The claws are not a weapon that they would use on a person. A dove's main defense is puffing up their feathers to look larger, sometimes a huff or a hiss to keep someone away from their eggs or babies. A parent might feign being a wounded bird to lure away danger from her babies. The males will wing box another intruding male and peck at his face, but their bill is downward curved and not very sharp, although they can pull out the feathers of the other bird. The defenselessness of a dove is one of the main reasons it is prey to so many predators and so often abused. It cannot cry out for help and becomes a silent victim of its attacker. For someone to shoot such a defenseless creature is the ultimate act of cowardice.

When males are in the company of other males and females during mating season, the male doves will go through endless "bowing & cooing" to brag of their prowess  to the other doves. It is not much interest to the females unless one is a former mate, but the other males in turn will brag about their wares.

Emotions: Doves do indeed exhibit emotional responses, albeit only the basic emotions of fear, jealousy or protectiveness over a mate or baby. A dove will tremble its wings when it is afraid. The male will drive the female when another male is in the vicinity by pecking at her and herding her away from the other male, cackling loudly while the feathers are raised on his upper back. Often, the male drives the female so aggressively that he chases the female toward the other male which is the very thing he is trying to avoid. When a dove is happy to see you, some will quiver their wings at the anticipation of being fed. When a mate, baby or egg is being threatened, the other mate will try to get between the threat and his family, raising their wing defensively and wing boxing if necessary.