June 29, 2006

My Worry Present

Finally, I can post about the new bird family that came into view just when I was ready to pull my hair out a couple of weeks ago.

One morning, Ed got up for work and looked out the bedroom window to see a carelessly put-together bird nest resting on our air conditioner ledge (we didn't have the a/c in the window yet). At that time, there wasn't much that could cheer me or help me to keep things in proper perspective as I awaited test results from a recent biopsy. This, however, was exactly what I needed to give me focus!

We watched mother Mourning Dove as she came and left again and again with tiny twigs and bits of yard nature - preparing a cozy bed for her little-ones-to-be.

I wish I could figure out how to make the photos larger but right now - between Blogger and a busy schedule, I just cannot take the time. The photo above, taken through the window and screen, is mother dove resting gently on her eggs.

After a few days, the two eggs hatched and papa dove looks down on the new babies with great pride. In the world of Mourning Doves, the male replaces the female in the early morning after she calls out to him, and he stays in the nest all day long until she relieves him after dark. Aren't the babies just the cutest things you've ever seen? They really brought me great comfort and joy.

It was such fun to watch the babies being fed! The parent bird would nudge the babies and each of them would stick their bill inside mom (or dad's) to receive the dove's nourishment. The "food" is stored in a little sac inside the parent bird's throat. It's has a rich milky consistency but is not "milk" as we know it. The babies really have to reach pretty far to get to this sac, and they sure were polite to one another as they took turns.

They grew so quickly it was hard to believe! In no time, they were barely able to fit beneath the parent dove without a wing or a leg sticking out. We set up our video cam at the window so as not to disturb the little family as they hung out together doing bird things all day. We really captured some amazing and clear footage of feedings, nudgings, play among the babies and even a poop or two!

At first the parent is extra careful to keep the nest spotless - removing poops as soon as they are deposited by the young ones. It's so cool how quickly the babies learn to point their little butts out at the edge of the nest so as not to sit back down on the turds. I know you'll think I'm strange here, but I found this whole practice rather amazing and even a bit cute!

The birds (all of them) really came to trust Ed, SJ and I as we peered out at them quietly in the early mornings and again in the afternoons. But loud noises upset the parent birds and they would tense up and look into the window at us. The babies became a tad more cautious as they got bigger and older. I would have thought it might have happened the other way around.

The babies left the nest after about 9 days and we caught their virgin flight on video! The father dove nudged them then flew to a close by branch. The smaller of the two "kids" following shortly after and then the larger one finally took off. They didn't travel far as the huge Maple tree just outside our window provided a very cool landing and launching practice pad.

Finally, they were all out of sight one day, then back the next, then gone for good within two weeks of hatching. Wow.

You know, this entire experience for me was new and refreshing; it would have been even if I weren't under such extreme pressure at the time. Having grown up in the big city, I never had the opportunity to see birds up so close, let alone watch newborn babies waking, sleeping, eating and pooping.

This was such a rare treat and the spiritual side of me just knows that the timing was all part of a grand plan to calm my heart during a messy ordeal. It hadda be.

I think everyone deserves a worry present.

Have a happy weekend!

"There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before" Robert Lynd (1879-1949)


Anonymous John said...

Great story Carol! There are tons of Mourning Doves around here, I love the little chirping or squeeking sound they make when flying. I didn't know they would grow up so fast and be gone so fast too...

No worries on the pics, they are readable, and actually, the site will load faster when the images are smaller. Especially for us poor saps stuck on dialup, with no other alternative available in the near or distant future - verified by the cable and telephone companies... Grrr!

Hope your weekend will be great. :)

3:59 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Carol, that was just so beautiful :o)
I'm so glad you were given something so special to focus on in such a troubling time :o)

5:56 PM  
Blogger Alisa said...

I am really glad to read your story of success! The mourning dove here, had a less than optimal story. I'll post about it on my blog. It was very traumatic to watch.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Cheyenne said...

Yes, The Lord works in mysterious ways.
We have Mourning Doves too. They come to the feeder daily, but they are ground feeders so they get what drops down.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

If you stand still long enough life will go right past you like a parade with all its colors and wonders dispayed for all to see, feel and appredciate.
Great post :)

12:14 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Wonderful story and moments Carol! This is something to treasure. I love it.

What do you do to put in pictures? Are you storing them somewhere online? Flickr offers free profiles (www.flickr.com) that allow you to upload 20 MB a month and then you can pick the size of picture you want and just put the imbedded link into the post. I ended up getting the service at Flickr, but I can tell you that's how I post pictures. It is rather easy.

Still - wonderful story! So cute.

4:41 AM  
Blogger PBS said...

Awww, I love Mourning Doves, they are one of my favorite birds. It's great timing that you got to see the nest and baby birds to take your mind off of your worry. How cool that you filmed their first flight!

8:17 AM  
Blogger sidcruise said...

You wont believe when I tell you there are birds on my A/c resting, till I havent seen any young ones though ...

the young ones were real cute..

12:18 PM  
Blogger sidcruise said...

I meant the one you witnessed growing ;))

12:19 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

"This was such a rare treat and the spiritual side of me just knows that the timing was all part of a grand plan to calm my heart during a messy ordeal. It hadda be."

I am proud of you for recognizing that!

2:27 PM  
Anonymous dulciana said...

What a wonderful thing to be able to watch all of that taking place! I'd never heard of a worry present before - great concept.

3:40 PM  
Blogger tammi said...

What terrific reading today....as usual on your blog.
Have a wonderful weekend!

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen NYC birds up close. In fact a pigeon once pooped on my head! But then again, they are skyrats, not birds.

9:27 PM  
Blogger MYSTIC said...


8:36 AM  
Blogger Spinning Girl said...

What a special treat!

One of the highlights of my life is the summer I spent banding hawks & eagles in Wyoming. You haven't lived until you have held a Golden Eagle nestling in your hands!

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Hi Carol,
I really enjoyed reading about the Dove family. I can see how they helped take your focus off of your troubles.
We feed the birds. I get a kick out of watching the same bird families come to visit the feeder day in and day out. I've yet to see what you've shared.
A gift indeed.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Chrissie said...

I loved your bird story with the pics. Very neat.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

You got the ring side seat. Fascinating . I love doves and found all the details of you observation really captivating. The wren at my new house is too far away...but the eggs have hatched. I wish I was there to see how they are going to teach them to fly out the one-inch opening in the side window!

8:28 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

In blogger you can check the box to load your images as small, medium or large. Depending on the origanal size of the photo it can be a larger link. I take 8MG and have to reduce my photos to 40%. It reduces the quaility but can still be large enough. Depending on your band width, you may never click on my photos since they are pretty large.

8:30 PM  
Blogger jac said...

That was quite refreshing to me too.

The pics should have been a bit larger though.

Kudos for the post.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

Hi Weary, Thanks for visiting recently. I always get excited when I see that I've had a Hag visitation!

We have a family of phoebe birds nesting in our porch rafter. They come back most years, skipped a few after a black snake ate thier babies once. They are great fun to watch and we filmed the babies learning to fly. It's sometimes hard having them on the porch because when we hang out there they get all skittish and so it's hard to relax on my own porch somtimes!

So glad the doves gave you some comfort when you needed it!

9:27 AM  
Blogger Floridacracker said...

Great quote at the end.

9:48 AM  
Blogger MYSTIC said...


4:20 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

Happy Fourth of July :)

8:15 PM  
Blogger Swathi said...

the entire experience seems so beautiful.now i'm waiting for my birds to give me some relief

4:22 AM  
Blogger L said...

I love it when baby birds (especially mockingbirds) hatch-- although we get a lot of mourning doves in our area too

10:12 PM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

I had NO idea birds matured that quickly to flight. Observing nature at work is quite an experience. Maybe someday, someone will develop a gameboy game that shows those kinds of things happening, so our children can witness them too.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous hellbunny said...

They are so beautiful and you were so lucky to see them mature and develop

11:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home