we have a returning mourning dove nest in our trumpet vine.  i would like to help with the nest building by providing some soft autumn leaves and small twigs . etc..  will the mourning doves accept my help.  or will they smell humans and fly away.  my wife is of the opinion that i am interfering with nature.

thank you for your help.

jerry libryk

Hi Jerry,

How nice that you have a returning pair of mourning doves in your garden! I love their sad calls...

Don't worry, contrary to popular belief, most birds can't smell very well, and in any case, your pair are probably quite used to people. However, a visible disturbance in the nest itself might make them choose a different location.

You can still help them by leaving soft twigs, grass stems and pine needles where they can see them. They'll pick the ones they like.

An idea: Would be an interesting project to start a photo record of this season's nesting and chick rearing?

All the best,