Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lonesome Doves

 I have been to the scene of a murder but I have not found the body. On Thursday morning, as I stepped out the back door onto the concrete porch, I saw swirling masses of light grey-white feathers being whipped by the gentle breeze. Below our maple was a patch of leaves and twigs, too. I knew at once that a bird had been taken there.
 I do not trust the raccoons. A skunk could be the culprit, too, so perhaps my blame is too easy.
 Later, when I had gone into the garden to collect vegetables, I saw the remaining members of the shattered family nesting in the dry soil of a flower bed. Though Turtle Doves will nest on the ground, it is a last resort choice. This clearly was a mama and a remaining chick, making the most of a sad situation.

 The mama bird stood and walked away as I approached. The baby held fast to her dusty spot. Soon the mother bird returned, sure that I was not bent on harming her.
 Seeing a baby turtle dove is rare. I understand that they remain in their nests until they are indistinguishable from the adults. In fact, I have never seen one before. And yet turtle doves are common here and surely have nests about the property.
 I took this shot from a distance so as to not scare her and punched in some telephoto and added flash to light the flower bed where they nested. Here is a full-resolution crop of just the baby's head peering out from beneath his mama. Such a big, bright and dark eye he has!

 Throughout the day Thursday the pair stayed in this spot. When I went in for the night they were still there. But by Friday morning they had gone. There was not a trace of them. Thankfully, I also did not find any more feathers so I feel sure they have made it to a safer spot.
 Nature recovers quickly, goes about its daily work unaware of the past. When an event is over, there's no brooding on it. It's a new day. Move on with life. There are better days ahead.