Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: doves

4.08.12

Easter evening
a distant white-winged dove calls
clouds drift south

4.02.12

abandoned nest
two mourning dove eggs
under open sky

They abandoned the nest after a week, leaving two eggs behind. Don’t know if they decided they didn’t like our porch and dogs, or if they got eaten. I suppose now the grackles, jays, squirrels or whoever else will get some eggs soon.

Mourning Doves Move In

Mourning Dove

Last night I noticed a mourning dove sitting in one of the planters hanging from the back porch. I could just see her head poking above the woven fabric of the basket, which has been empty since last summer’s drought killed the plants that were there. Now it’s just a small shelf of dirt and, it seems, a nice place for a dove to roost.

This morning, the dove was gone but I wanted to see if there was any kind of nest in it and so I got up on tiptoes, looked in and was surprised to see a single white egg. By the time I left for work, she was back, hunkered low, feathers fluffed against the early chill.

According to Birds of Texas, mourning doves lay two eggs that incubate for 12-14 days. The fledglings leave the nest 12-14 days after that. Assuming of course they make it. Since I haven’t been putting out seed, the squirrels, blue jays and grackles aren’t coming around as much so hopefully this dove will have a chance.

As soon as I saw the egg, I found myself thinking about how to protect it from nest predators, but then I remembered that dove knows what she’s doing better than I do. Still, I really hope we get to see some young doves fledge into the world rather than the redder side of nature.

When I got home, there was a second egg, and I got the above picture (click to see higher-res) of the male. I was amazed by his coloring (the blue patch on his crown marks him as the male). I had no idea they were so colorful. I’ve seen so many mourning doves that I guess over the years I’ve stopped really seeing them. Usually they’re farther away too and so while I’ve watched them, I realize that this is the first time I’ve gotten a really good look at one. Stunning. Once again, I’m reminded that the most astonishing things in the world are often the things we see every day and thus stop noticing.

“You just have to pay attention,” my wife says as she’s watching me type this.

Free Birds

Sunday was a nice day for backyard birding. The Carolina chickadees (above) came back with a vengeance. I hadn’t seen any since March, but since Sunday, they’ve been everywhere. I assume a bunch of babies must have just fledged nearby.

In addition to the chickadees, blue jays and grackles took turns on the hanging seed block. A house finch seemed to enjoy the safflower block that the squirrels find distasteful, and house sparrows dotted the ground looking for the small seeds that fall off the feeders.

Of course, we also had the usual flock of white-winged doves as well as one mourning dove that hangs with his white-winged allies.

Ignoring the food, a Carolina wren brought bits of fluff, twigs and even some Phoebe fur up to the nest box on the porch. The previous couple moved out after their babies left the nest so it’s nice to see someone moving in. As of today, there are two eggs in the nest.

Earlier in the day, I spotted a tufted titmouse, which was exciting because prior to him, I had only ever seen black-crested titmice in the yard. Incidentally, I hadn’t seen any titmice of any kind since March. I suppose they’re in cahoots with the chickadees.

And finally, just before we went in, a cardinal came by. I rarely see them in the yard, and when they do come around they always fly away just as I notice them. This guy actually stood still long enough for me to take his picture.

Perched

Each day around feeding time, the trees fill up with white-winged doves.

They’re harmless, of course, and easily frightened, but there’s still something eerie about being watched by wild animals…

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