My Worry Present
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)