Monday, May 29, 2017

A Sweet Serendipity

The subject for this post is, admittedly, a break from tradition. But it has made me so happy--has made our entire household so happy--that I have to share it.

Several weeks ago, a pair of mourning doves took up residence on our back porch and began building a nest in the clothes pin basket that sits on the top shelf of my potting hutch. When it became apparent what they were up to, we were all a little concerned. The back porch gets a lot of traffic. Along with the potting shelf, it houses the sand table, my work bench, several planters, a sitting area, outdoor toy storage, the grill, strollers, and the hammock. And these parents were, naturally, skittish.

However, they were also determined. They built their nest, mom laid her eggs, and they settled in:

To become a little more knowledgeable about our new guests, we did a little research on mourning doves. Both parents are involved in the nest building, the egg-sitting, and the parenting. The female typically lays two eggs (yup) which incubate for about two weeks.

We quickly became attached to this little family and tried to keep our backyard noise to a minimum. However, one of the parents was definitely more jittery than the other and flew off the nest whenever we opened the back door. We had an ongoing debate about which was the braver of the pair. The men in the family were certain that it was the dad, of course. The women felt that the mother instinct kept the female on the nest despite our distractions. Since the males and females are almost indistinquishable, we will probably never know. We are just grateful that despite our disruptions, the eggs survived.

Although we couldn't see them, we realized they had hatched when we looked out the window one morning and saw the mom/dad doing a little quivering dance in the nest. Our theory is that it was internally mashing up the seeds it had eaten and was creating seed milk for the babies.

Here they are at about 10 days old. For the first week, the parents kept them well hidden, but now they are big enough that their heads pop out from under the parental wings. And, if Google is correct, they will attempt to leave the nest in about four more days. We see them occasionally, when their parents leave, tentatively sit up and peer over the side. They are clearly getting ready to experience life outside the clothespin basket.

We will miss them.

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