Protecting mourning doves

Maybe this thread's title is a bit of a misnomer, but I hope it fits.

The mourning dove is one of the many species of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which forbids the killing or taking of native migratory bird species, or their nests, their feathers, or their eggs. The MBTA was put into effect to protect wild bird species from going extinct from overhunting or being caught for the pet trade.

Paradoxically, it is legal to hunt mourning doves for sport, yet not to keep them for companionship.

I find this hypocritical and appalling. Mourning doves are such gentle, kind creatures, and from what I know, the species has a tendency to trust and bond with humans.

The hunting of these birds should be outlawed in all 50 states. Keeping a bonded mourning dove should absolutely be legal. Granted, the definition of such seems like it could be murky, but still. They are such beautiful creatures, with a beautiful song, and I cannot fathom the kind of mind it takes to want to kill one.

My motivations are quite selfish. I dream of a wild mourning dove entering my home, refusing to leave, and becoming my friend for life. Or finding a baby and nursing it.

Most MBTA-protected species don't strike me as particularly amenable to captivity. Hell, even some pet bird species seem ill-served by captivity. But the mourning dove doesn't require the stimulation that a parrot does, for instance.

It is well past time to strengthen the bond between humanity and the mourning dove. Outlaw the hunting of mourning doves and make them legal to keep. Or domesticate them for food. I don't know! People keep pet chickens!


  • Reality has never been an obstacle for me before!!
    I don't know if I can get behind "make them legal to keep as pets", but I can agree with banning hunting them.
  • there is a light that never goes out
    banning the hunt seems reasonable
  • The other day I saw a mourning dove in an animal rescue center.  Specifically, at the Sawgrass Nature Center and Wildlife Hospital.

    It definitely wanted attention.  And it was peckish -- as in, it literally wanted to peck you.
  • I've learned to tolerate drama...except on the boat

    I don't know if I can get behind "make them legal to keep as pets", but I can agree with banning hunting them.

    The thing is that I don't know if there is an ethical way to breed them as pets. I was talking about ones that - just by chance - happened to make themselves comfortable within a domestic environment. If they somehow were to produce multiple generations of tame mourning doves, then so be it. Just don't throw them out there to fend for themselves.
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