Short tail feathers, pale legs. Must be a juvenile Mourning Dove.
How is it that I’ve never noticed a baby dove before now? Mourning Doves are one of the most widespread and abundant birds in North America, and adults have several broods a year. This little one frequented the front yard, probably from the nest in one of the hollies beside the front door. Short tail feathers, drab plumage — it’s young.
Adults care for fledglings for only 12 days after they leave the nest, and then the young are on their own. They stay close to their nesting area for a couple weeks.
A few days later and the tail feathers are getting longer
Just after being rebuffed by a Cardinal that wasn’t interested in feeding it.
Where it sheltered from weather and predators
When it matures, the little Mourning Dove will acquire an iridescent plumage and other characteristic features. And it will have the long tail feathers and wing feathers needed for longer flights.
Adult Mourning Doves have bright pink legs and blue eye rings