Common bird of the urban forest
narrow crotches might give an arborist nightmares,
but it's "Home Sweet Home" to a pair of mourning doves.
Yesterday morning, as I waited to meet a friend in a downtown parking lot, I saw a mourning dove fly past, carrying a small twig. Only then did I notice a nest in a little tree between the busy street and the parking lot. Even though the tree doesn't have leaves yet, the nest is hard to see.
Mourning doves are notorious for constructing flimsy nests, so it's good that the closely-spaced branches of this tree provide a strong foundation.
The nest of this bird is an astonishingly poor makeshift, composed chiefly of a handful of twigs thrown together so loosely that the eggs are in danger of rolling out of it, or falling through the interstices. . . Very likely if the birds employed some of the time and ardor they usually put into billing and cooing in trying to construct a safe and substantial home, the result would be a better nest, but after all, their poor workmanship is probably due primarily to the fact that both their bills and their feet are ill-adapted to nest-building.
Source: Birds of America, part II page 47, edited by T. Gilbert Pearson, John Burroughs, et al. Published in 1936 by Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY.
An interesting fact about mourning doves is that (like deer) their numbers increase when forests are thinned. Mourning dove are not birds of the deep woods. They thrive in open woods, farmland, and backyards. The urban forest suits them well. They are found throughout the continental United States, and also southern Canada.
Mourning doves are said to prefer coniferous trees for nesting, but as you can see, they adapt when a conifer is not available. In my own yard, mourning doves nest in the apple trees every summer.