An injured Mourning Dove


I very nearly stepped on a bird the other day when I was out taking a walk, a pretty rare occurrence. Once, many years ago, a Ruffed Grouse flew up right in front of me, flapping its wings furiously just a foot or so away then dropping to the ground as if it had a broken wing.

Satisfied that I was suitably startled, it flew off. It was only later that I realized that it probably had young chicks nearby and the whole display was meant to distract me long enough for them to go hide. It worked.

No so this time.

This was a Mourning Dove, camouflaged almost perfectly among the fallen leaves. The bird was really injured. It was able to fly a little – just far enough to try to find another hiding place. I was able to find it fairly easily.

It didn’t have any obvious wounds. The wing injury seemed to be fairly minor, since it could fly somewhat, albeit severely limited.

The prospects of an injured bird surviving in the wild are pretty dim. I contemplated taking it home, where I might be able to let it recuperate in safety until the injury healed. Unfortunately I didn’t have any good way of getting it home without running the risk of stressing it out and causing more injury.

My quandary was solved when it flew off deeper into a tangle of brush. About the best I could do was hope it found a place safe enough to give it time to recover.