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Baby Dove's Adventure

Baby mourning dove

Ever since a pair of doves built a nest in the branches of my neighbor's evergreen tree, I have been following their progress. The neighbor's evergreen hangs over the fence in my side yard. It is in this hanging section that the doves built their nest.


A few weeks ago I began to see small pieces of tiny egg shells on the ground, quite a distance from the nest. The wind may have blown them along. I never saw any baby doves – until over a week ago I accidentally found one.


I was using a garden hose to water the juniper tree in my front yard when all of sudden something hopped up and disappeared. I walked around the tree and found a baby mourning dove huddled next to the base of the juniper. Its coloring was so much like the tree that it was hard to spot.


The bird pushed itself as far into the base of the tree as possible. I knew I was scaring it, so I went inside and hurried to my kitchen window that looks out onto the juniper. I spotted two doves fly into the tree. They began to send trilling sounds through the air. They must be the parents, I thought, letting their baby know they were close by. Those doves must be the ones that built a nest in my neighbor's evergreen tree!


Why was the baby dove at the base of my juniper tree? Did it have trouble learning to fly? I found a tiny bowl, filled it with water, and took it to the base of the tree. The baby dove was there, but it hopped to the other side of the tree when it saw me. I put the bowl close to the spot where I hoped the bird would return. It was in a shaded, somewhat protected space. Sure enough, the bird eventually did return there. I stayed as far away as I could to keep from scaring it.


I hoped the baby dove would be safe there until it learned to fly. I don't see cats wondering around my area of the neighborhood, and I hoped no larger predator birds would try to make a meal out of the little one.


This went on for several days until one day when I went to check on the bird, it was gone. There were no feathers to indicate an attack, nothing but the slight indentation the baby had made in the soil at the base of the tree. The bowl of water was empty. I kept checking every day, but the dove never returned. I stopped hearing its parents trill support to their little one.


I hope the baby mourning dove learned to fly and that it will live a long, productive life. I will never know, but I choose to believe the story of the baby mourning dove had a happy ending.

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A Neighborhood of Doves

Doves have created holes in this tree to reach their nest

A pair of doves has built a nest somewhere among the plentiful branches of an evergreen tree that grows in my neighbor's yard. Part of it hangs over my fence and creates a shady ceiling for some of my flowers. The tree is called an oriental arborvitae, according to my trusty Picture This app.


The doves have created a bird-size doorway among the branches of the tree. Sometimes I see one of the birds fly in and out of that hole. Then the branches start to shake as the bird is either settling down on its eggs or feeding its nest full of hungry babies. There are actually several similar holes in various places on the tree. Doves may have created a neighborhood of nests in this tree. I've only seen doves fly in and out of one spot on the tree this spring, so I suspect this is the entrance to the active dove home this season.


The nest is about eight feet off the ground, away from the reach of neighborhood cats. One of those cats used to come into my yard quite regularly, and I would pick it up and pet it. But as soon as I adopted my dog, who loves to chase cats, the cat learned to stay away.


At first, I was sad that I couldn't enjoy both my dog and the neighbor's cat. Now I'm glad it doesn't come around, because it might worry the doves. I have taken great pleasure in watching them fly in and out of the tree.


I can't see through the branches well enough to spot the nest, but I know it's there. I wonder if I will soon see little doves take flight in and out of the tree as they learn to use their wings.


I have seen quite a few doves near other homes around the neighborhood, so I suspect the nest in my yard is only one of several in a dove community that has created its own little neighborhood within our human one.


The doves are gray with a hint of light blue coloring. They are fairly small and quite graceful in flight. I hope the babies grow up healthy and strong and learn to fly without mishap. Maybe I will someday see a few of them sitting on the fence, singing a song to their human neighbor.

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