Spring literally came to my door about four weeks ago, when I noticed some twigs on my shop’s front doorstep. I looked up to see more twigs peeking out from the top of the AC unit above. I stepped back, and came to nose to beak with a mourning dove.
I was quite taken aback, when I realized that a pair of mourning doves had taken up residence and had begun to build their nest. I took great delight everyday in watching the pair come and go. Mostly one would stay on the nest; presumably it was the female, which I named Isabelle, and the male, who I imagined playing the protector was Isadore.
Every so often I would hear a little rustling about; occasionally I would hear the gentle, mournful cooing that the doves are so aptly named for. I took the birds nesting above my doorway as a rather appropriate blessing of sorts of my shop, seeing how I am a weaver as well as a knitter.
Another bird that I find fascinating is a species of weaver finches that are noted for their nests that are elaborately woven by the males with their beaks and feet using very fine strips of plant fiber. They are known to weave many of these nests, waiting for a female to choose the perfect one as its nest.
The doves work as a team, the male bringing the female nesting materials for her to weave into a loose tangle of twigs. I figured the nest building to the nestling period had taken about four weeks. The nest was so quiet that it wasn’t until the final week that I even realized the babies had hatched, let alone grown so quickly. One day I saw a pair of dark heads peeking out from behind Isabelle. I couldn’t get over the contrast of dark, speckled, fluffy feathers to the smooth grey to buff colored body of their mother. I rejoiced daily in my feathered family and shared them with everyone.
It was both a sad and happy day last week when the babies took flight, both of them resting on the above ledges, one just above the nest, the other directly across on the other side of the street. I fretted most of the day, worrying about what might happen to the fledglings. I noticed early in the afternoon that one of the adults, Isabelle, I presumed, found the baby above the nest and stayed with it for a while.
I left the door open, listening for her mournful call and would rush out to see what was happening. The last call came from Isabelle, who was perched on the lamppost across the street. The little one on the ledge hopped closer to her and then tried to fly. My heart sunk when I watched the baby flutter onto the cab of a pickup sitting at the light. I fussed like a bird momma myself, warning the driver that he had a baby bird hitch hiker and to go slowly. He did so, and finally both baby and Isabelle took flight together — where to, I do not know.
So I choose to think that the family has headed out with their offspring who are ready to begin their lives.
After a bit of research I found out that in about another month, I may be visited yet again by Isabelle and Isadore for an encore performance. As thrilled as I am at the prospect of another nest of babies, I do hope the rumble of the summer AC won’t disturb them.