|The Dove Report|
SATURDAY April 18
Today I noticed a lot of bird activity taking place in my back porch area. My hunch was that nest construction was going on. But I wasn't sure.
SUNDAY April 19
On Sunday I opened the shades and discovered that new tenants had moved into a corner spot, atop my "outside" patio curtains. The glass prevented me from getting a good look so I carefully opened the door to investigate. With the first click of the door handle, off flew the two doves that had recently taken up residence.
I checked again after returning home from church and found the nest vacant. This saddened me because I didn't want to have caused homelessness to his young couple. I saw no activity all day. I worried.
MONDAY April 20:
Early in the morning I was happy to see the two doves were both tucked up in the corner, a scant space that is hardly large enough for one. When I opened the door, the male flew away but the female remained, allowing me to walk up to just under the nest while she kept a keen eye trained on my every move. I sent up some kind words and went to my office to work with the door to the patio open. As soon as the day became cozy warm, off she flew to do whatever she felt needed done, returning that evening to take up her post in the nest. The male must have returned, because I could hear occasional cooing sounds as I continued to work.
TUESDAY April 21:
Still there. I went out to greet her and wish her a good day. She left shortly to go about her duties a little earlier than yesterday. At about 1:15 p.m. she was back at the nest. She always "sets" with her tail feathers pointed straight up, where the inside corners of the patio meet. She couldn't ask for finer lodgings ... the sound of the water falling into the pool below and, of course the ability to take in the excellent view, looking out over my own private Grandito (oxymoron)Canyon. Of course their choice is prime realestate because of its added safety features...protected from predators, both creeping and flying. I recall the doves outside my bedroom French doors in Arizona. They constructed their nest on a concrete wall that backed up against the side of the house. One day I went out to find the eggs dashed to the ground and broken to bits. The little ones didn't even get a chance. As I recall, Doves mate for life. I hope that wasn't too much of a heartbreak for them; it was for me.
WEDNESDAY April 22
Mrs. Dove didn't move from her spot all day. She is very dedicated to her task. Mr. Dove, on the other hand, is AOL. I don't even see him bringing her food. She must be getting very hungry. I would like to provide her with a few tidbits but I don't think she will take food from strangers. I would at least like to play some music for her or move the TV out to where she could at least catch Secrets of Game Birding on the Outdoor Channel (a horror show for Doves, I'm sure). I was hoping she would fly away to get food. Then I would quickly put up my little step ladder and take a picture of the eggs. Wish I would have thought to put up a rearview mirror above the nest.
THURSDAY April 23
Mrs. Dove is so still; she looks like a Dove decoy—the type of fake bird that is used for duck hunting. She doesn't move. Actually, maybe she has starved to death. No one brings her food and she doesn't move from her vigil on those eggs. From what I learned from Google, it takes 14-17 days for those eggs to hatch. I hope I will still be in town for the blessed event, sometime in the first week of May. I really worried yesterday, the wind was blowing fiercely and the curtains (atop which she is perched) were billowing out, even though they are tied down. Sometimes the wind is so strong that it pulls the screws from the wall and the curtains go flying! She would never have survived that upheaval. I thought I might see Mr. Dove hanging around somewhere, just to keep watch and see how things are going. But no! I'm really disappointed in him.
FRIDAY April 24
SATURDAY April 25
SUNDAY April 26
MONDAY April 27
TUESDAY April 29
Notice in the close-up picture on the end, that one of the new twigs is from a tumbleweed. They have lots of very sharp thorns on them (I know. I have encountered them many times in my garden when I pull clumps of weeks and a tumbleweed twig is hiding in the bunch.) Perhaps the plan is that the thorny twig will "pin" the nest to the curtain. But now the nest is so heavy that it really wobbles with the wind. The must cause a good deal of angst for Mrs. Dove.
The question, now, is, "Is that really Mrs. Dove on the nest?" I have learned that Doves take turns sitting on the eggs. That's a nice example of family cooperation and togetherness. All I have to do is figure out which one is Clyde and which one is the little "Mrs." By the way, any of you grandkids want to give Mrs. Dove a first name? How about some suggestions. Notice in the first picture, that Clyde has little stripes under his wing. Male birds are usually more "decorated" than the females. Could this be the male? But how do I tell the difference when they are sitting on the nest??? This is going to take closer detective work.
WEDNESDAY April 30
WEDNESDAY May 6
SUNDAY June 28
Soon they were taking turns on the eggs. Doves, I read on the Internet, can hatch several batches (two at a time) of little ones in the course of one summer. Because these two doves seemed to sit on the nest differently. I had the feeling they were a new couple.
*Yes, Mrs. Dove was named Bar. This could be short for Barbara, of course. However, she really does have touches of chocolate coloration in her feathers.
Should I put up a "For Rent" sign?