CREATURE FEATURE # 27
Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina)
One of the regular residents at Mound House is the common ground dove, a bird native to the southern United States. These doves are much smaller than their cousins, the mourning dove. Ground doves have a similar soft brown coloring but with pink feathers around the beak with tan wings. Ground doves can often be observed at our bird feeder or foraging amongst the coastal dune vegetation on site for grass seeds or fruits. Picking up bits of shell and grit for their gizzards is a typical late afternoon habit of ground doves, and they are often seen on the shell paths of the property.
Ground doves build their nests either on the ground, or in low growing bushes. Their small, delicate nests can be observed by our visitors and have been located along the sandy slopes of the shell mound itself or in the low growing native vegetation. These nests usually hold two eggs. Chicks can fly as early as eleven days after hatching.
These birds are yearlong residents whose feeding and nesting behavior has adapted to seasonal changes. Not unlike the bobwhite quail, who occupy similar habitat, the ground dove spends most of its time on the ground walking and foraging, flying short distances as needed to relocate.