Mourning Dove Commits Suicide on my Picture Window

I doubt that he was really trying to commit suicide but he might have. He was being chased by the nesting red shouldered hawk and he might have thought to himself : which would I rather have happen-be eaten by a hawk or smash myself into Joanharvest’s picture window. He chose the latter.

My computer is next to the window so I heard the very loud thump and as I turned my head I saw tiny little feathers floating in the air. I managed to stand up and look out the window and saw him just underneath the window in the talons of the hawk. The hawk looked straight at me and dropped him and flew away. The mourning dove was laying there and sort of crawled a few feet and stopped moving. He was either unconscious or dead. I decided to wait awhile to see if he might wake up and just fly away so we could have a happy ending to this story. I also didn’t want to put his system into more shock.  If he was alive there probably wasn’t much I could do for him. It never occurred to me the hawk might come back for him.

I actually took a picture of him as he was laying there but it’s too sad to post. I  turned back to the computer for just a minute and when I looked back at the dove he was gone. I’d like to think that he woke up and flew away. I don’t want to think that the hawk came back for him, but on the hand the hawk has to eat too, you know, the cycle of life and the food chain and all that.

I sort of feel guilty that I didn’t go out and save him. If Barry were home he would have.

When I was about 12 years old I found a baby starling on the ground by a tree. He must have fallen out of the nest. I picked him up and brought him home. He hardly had any feathers yet.

I put him in a box with a soft towel and called the vet to see what to feed him. I gave him sugar water with an eyedropper on the tip of his beak and fed him raw hamburg.  I had to feed him  every 30 minutes for the first week.  It was awful because he would wake me up in the night but I did it. He certainly let me know when he was hungry.  I called him Grapenut. I will never forget Grapenut. As he grew he thought I was his Mama.

I would let him out of his box and he would follow me everywhere. We had this little screened in building in our backyard and I would take him in there when he started to learn to fly.

Then I went on vacation with my parents and left him in the care of my older sister and brother. When I came back home he was dead. They swear they fed him and it wasn’t their fault. I didn’t believe them at the time but I know my sister wouldn’t lie to me so I know now it was the truth. I cried a lot at the time over Grapenut’s death. I had become so attached to him. My sister and brother had a big party while we were gone. Of course, they weren’t supposed to. My parents never did find out and I didn’t find out until years later. I always wondered if someone at the party might have gotten Grapenut drunk. He wasn’t a drinker and I doubt that he could handle his liquor very well. But I’ll never know.


29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. teeni
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 12:52:13

    Awww. So sad. I hate it when stuff like this happens. Tears me all up. Grapenut was a cutie. I actually tried to save one of those starlings before too but I didn’t know what to feed it. He ended up dying. I didn’t know what type of bird it was until I saw your pictures though. And now I’ll know better how to care for one should I ever be in that position again.


    • raylene
      Jul 01, 2010 @ 10:17:41

      I have 3 baby starlings right now, their names are Sue(sues the oldest!) Jak (Jack) and Tim ❤ They eat cat food that has been soaking in water so that its mushy, then i mush it up more with a fork, they love it and its full of nutrions.(srry i cant spell very well.) I feed it to them with tweezers, but while its soaking, i take a spoon and scoop out the water( The water has tiny particles of food in it) and i wait til they open their mouths then drip it in. I love them so much and i am so lucky to have them. Im so sorry about Grapenut! If anyone has any questions just ask.


      • Hannah Ann
        Jul 10, 2011 @ 21:35:43

        i have a starling that i found. i cannot keep him, but i want him to live. what should i do to keep him healthy and safe. he is currently in my backyard in a dog cage. he is not a loud in the house because i have hunting dogs. he is fully feathered. but has no tail feathers.


  2. betme
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 13:45:39

    OK, I am ging to pretend that your mourning dove was resting and flew away when it noticed that you were not looking. My make-believe world is a much happier place to live.

    I once had a woodpecker problem. The darn bird kept trying to attack the bird he saw in the car’s side mirror. He would peck at the mirror until it broke.


  3. teeni
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 14:38:21

    BTW – there is an award for you at my site.


  4. Wendy
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 17:35:34

    Congratulations on your award!

    I hate finding baby birds. I always feel obligated to try and save them. I’m beginning to really dislike anything that flies.


  5. joanharvest
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 18:58:21


    I was a lot more upset over Grapenut then I was over the mourning dove. Though I did feel bad for the dove.

    That is so funny about the woodpecker. I put out suet so we are getting woodpeckers but one of them has decided to peck on the house by my bedroom window at some ungodly hour in the morning. I am a night owl so I am trying to sleep while he pecks. He better watch it or I’m going to take his suet away.

    @ Teeni
    I have already thanked you at your blog but I will Thank You again here. ❤


    Well after your bat incident I’d be leery of flying animals.

    Sarah was with someone years ago who hit a cat at 2:00 in the morning. It was still alive so they took it right to the vet who fixed it and then charged them $300. They explained to him it wasn’t even their cat. Then no one wanted it so of course Sarah took it home. Everyone called it Roadkill. We kept it until it passed on. I called the vet and he ended up charging us $75.00.


  6. kaylee
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 22:20:43

    I like BETMES make believe world.



  7. Peter Parkour
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 02:35:25

    I’m not out to make anyone mad, just sharing experiences. I too have tried to save baby birds in the past. They died. I’m sure that’s pretty common even if you know what to feed them. I’m sure having a wild bird as a pet, after raising it from a chick must have been really fun and rewarding.

    Now for the ugly truth. I would have left the dove out there for the hawk, and I would have stayed close by to see when he came back. How often to you get a chance to see such a thing?

    As for finding baby birds… When I find baby birds, I feed them to my snake. Circle of life, the food chain, and all that. Remember? 😕


  8. joanharvest
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 11:18:16

    @ Peter
    The hawk needs to eat too. He has a nesting mama who needs to have food if she’s going to be healthy to take care of her babies.

    My daughter babysat a python for about 4 months when she was about 16. It was about five feet long. We had to throw in a live mouse once a week because it would only eat live food. I would throw the mouse in and run (at the time I could) upstairs so I wouldn’t hear the mouse squeal when the snake got him.

    And let’s face it most of us are not vegetarians. We just never see the meat get killed.

    I once had this customer in my store telling me that it’s practically a sin to eat meat. Well I’m not one to keep my mouth shut. Then she told me that hundreds of thousands of years ago man only ate berries and such. She was clueless. We are carnivores. That’s why we have molars to chew meat with. I’m just happy we eat it cooked now. And of course, I felt the need to tell her this. I asked her what history book she got that idea out of.


  9. Lucky
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 14:30:59

    Your Grapenut story is so sad. 😦 I’m with Betme. The bird got up and flew away.


  10. romi41
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 19:51:44

    Oh my gosh so sorry about grapenut, but look at the lovely time you had together, I bet he DID love you like a mama! 🙂


  11. Peter Parkour
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 21:25:20

    The circle of life, baby. 😉


  12. joanharvest
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 12:14:27

    @ Lucky

    I still think about Grapenut. I’d like to think the dove flew away but as Peter said “it’s the circle of life”. The hawk needs to eat too.

    @ Romi
    It was so cute when he would follow me around the house. Before he learned how to fly, I would take him outside and he would follow me all over the yard.

    @ Peter

    The circle of life, you are so right. Nothing can change it.


  13. 2lazydogs
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 12:50:32

    Awww…so sad. Mourning doves mate for life, don’t they? So now there’s a lonely mourning dove wandering around without a mate. *sniff*

    I can’t even count on my fingers the number of birds, bunnies, squirrels, and raccoons my sis and I tried to save when we were growing up. We never had a bird make it more than a few days.


  14. joanharvest
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 17:24:07


    My niece has a chipmunk that she found on the ground in front of a pet store. The store wanted nothing to do with it so she took it home about a year ago. It was a baby then. At first they could hold and pet it but when hibernating time came around it became very aggressive but they still have it.

    I just found out that my daughter’s best friend ended up with five baby squirrels.

    You’re right about the mourning dove being monogamous. Though I have read that if they are separated, the remaining dove will try to raise the clutch itself but is not very successful at it. They will usually look for a new mate.


  15. 2lazydogs
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 19:13:49

    Whoa….chipmunks are CRAZY! My friend’s cat brought one into the house and let it go and I’ll be darned if it took over an hour to catch that thing. It was jumping about 5 ft. in the air. Yikes.


  16. joanharvest
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 20:18:06

    We had a squirrel get into the house through the chimney and we have three cats. I woke up in the morning to God awful noises coming from the living room. The cats had him cornered. I screamed for my son who was still sleeping and he came pounding up the stairs. He caught it with a fishing net but not before it was bouncing off the walls. At one point it bounced off his shoulder and we both started laughing so much he could hardly catch it.

    Yea, my niece can’t pick up the chipmunk anymore because it bites now.


  17. Lucky
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 22:19:18

    OMG! Was it like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? HAHAHAHAHAHA


  18. joanharvest
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 23:25:59

    Honestly, if someone had taped it, I think it would have been funnier than the squirrel scene in Christmas Vacation. As my son was trying to catch him, the cats started chasing the squirrel. They had waited all their lives for a squirrel to get in the house. They had been watching squirrels for years from the windows. This was their chance and they took it. The most amazing thing is that nothing got broken. After my son caught it and let it go outside, my son and I must have laughed hysterically for another 10 minutes.


  19. Lucky
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 00:35:49

    You need to write a book about your adventures with wildlife!! hahahaha


  20. Moonbeam McQueen
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 21:12:12

    Poor little Grapenut. This was so sad.


  21. joanharvest
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 17:52:42

    @ Lucky

    I do have a lot of animal adventures.

    @ Moonbeam
    I will always have a place in my heart for Grapenut. I wish I could remember why I called him that.


  22. patty clark
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 16:59:20

    We moved to Central America recently and in our backyard there was a big tall bush. After a few months it grew really big, so we had it chopped a little bit. The guy that did the job saw a Mourning Dove nest with baby birds in it. He left it alone, but with the branches he cut, it was visible to us.
    I guess it made it visible to predators too. This is what happened…
    As I was having lunch with two of my children in our dinning room, which leads to the backyard and has big windows, the Dove flew away right to us and slammed on the window! We all yelled in horror to see on top of the backyard wall, a Big Hawk holding on its paw the baby bird! Aparently the mom or dad was running away as the attacker took the baby. My 4 years old daughter was in tears, it was really sad to see it. There was nothing we could do.
    That was yesterday. Today we were again having lunch. I heared the rustling of feathers and again the dove hit one of our windows, this time in the livingroom. I ran to the backyard and saw the Hawk standing on the nest, but I guess there was nothing to eat there.
    The stupid doves have come back to their nest again afterthat… I have considered to provide a birdhouse for them but that might not be safer than the bush. The other option, which might work better is to take the birds at night and the gardener has offered to take them home and domesticate them.
    I just don’t want to see this hawk again tomorrow eating the poor doves. Which at this point might be more fragile after hitting a window twice. Any thoughts?????


  23. Hannah
    Jun 18, 2010 @ 08:45:36

    how old was he in the first picture? of you feeding him.


  24. Missy
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 01:35:07

    Just stumbled upon this. I rescued a baby starling tonight and took him to a wildlife rehab center. His sibling was already dead when we found them though 😦


  25. Holly
    Jul 04, 2010 @ 13:33:06

    Are you sure that is a Starling? I found a baby bird and have been raising her for about a week, and she looks EXACTLY like that last picture of Grapenut. My husband thinks she is a house sparrow, but I can’t tell. If Grapenut was a starling, then my little bird is definitely one as well.

    When I initially found her, I went to the local pet store and bought hand feed formula and an eye dropper and it’s worked wonderfully – it’s only about $5 for a week’s supply of food. I did hear that if you rescue a baby bird you shouldn’t feed them after sun-down though because their mothers don’t in the wild.

    Also, I’m wondering if she would survive if we set her free or if we should just keep her as a pet. I’m concerned that if we let her go she won’t know how to get food for herself and she might be vulnerable to predators.

    What do you think?


  26. Ms. Gaines
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 13:21:27

    Been seeing a lot of hawks this year in the city where I live.

    They have been preying on the morning doves.

    I didn’t think they hung around in heavily populated areas, but I see I was mistaken.


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