A Dove Story
by Ellen Gibbs
Towards the end of May a very special series of events occurred on our front porch. A set of parent doves kept flying in and around the porch railing of our mobile home. I set an oblong basket with a high curved handle on our front porch, near the support of some crisscross wooden siding. That evening I heard a noise outside and the next day I found that the wind had blown the basket off the rail. I decided to grab a painted rock about the size of my palm and place it in the basket.This would keep the basket from falling again.
At some point in the next two few days I saw a weaving of sticks in the bottom of the basket: an oval shape just right for eggs. I also observed one of the parent doves standing on the lip of the basket with a stick in its mouth. After several days I noticed the mother dove being especially patient in the nest. The next day, two almond size pink eggs were resting in the nest close to each other, while mother was gone out. I quickly took a picture of the beautiful eggs.
For the next twelve days or so, the father dove sat on the eggs during the day and the mother at night. the father seemed to me to have a longer nose. Their tail feathers would sometimes stick up as the basket was not wide enough for the whole bird. What total dedication and silent servitude!
At last the two hatchlings were born. I observed the fine cloth like shells next to the mother as she was sitting with the little ones underneath her to keep them warm. On several occasions, when the dove parent flew off for food or water I was able to see the two hatchlings snuggled close together with no intention of leaving anytime soon. My husband even placed a small lid of bird seed in the basket on the rock if they needed it.They sat together guarded and growing for 10-12 more days. They had chocolate brown feathers as opposed to the gray tones of the mother and father. Their little heads looked straight forward. Apparently the mother feeds the babies "milk" from her open mouth during this time.Eventually they sat farther apart and more independant of each other.
Finally , one morning as I came out to the porch I saw the basket laying tipped over on the carpet beneath the railing. The young birds were gone. They had somehow learned the way to fly and had gone to find out about the rest of the world.
Upon returning from out of town 4 days later I happened to see one of the parents and also one of the recent young birds from "our" nest. I recognized the colors of the feathers and the size of the young bird. Surely this was one of the youngsters God gave me a chance to see, as I kept wondering how they were doing. I spoke softly to it as it lay very still in the rocks. The parent dove was on a nearby roof watching and cooing.As I came closer
to the young one it flew hastily up to the porch with the railings and rested there quite near my ceramic rabbit. When I looked out ( not too long of a time later) it was sitting on the edge of the porch. Perhaps waiting for a signal to fly from the parent. I was so glad to see the fledgling as he was spending time near the same spot he was born. I hoped the other brother or sister was also out there somewhere being happy and healthy.
So our saga of the bird watch ended...but not quite. My husband stationed the empty basket on the other end of the railing and used string to keep it from falling.
Hopefully a new family would use it again next year.Comment
Thank you Ellen for sharing your wonderful story.