He was no more than a baby then

Yesterday when I went out to take a package from the UPS driver at the gate, I noticed a small bird on the ground and didn’t think much of it. But later, when I went out with the dogs, they thought a LOT of it. Their interest was in making it a morning snack, and I realized that the bird couldn’t get away from them. I shooed the dogs back inside and had a look around. That’s when I spotted a nest that had fallen from a tree and broken up, and now its occupant, too young to fly, was helpless against Compound dogs and also this guy who was wandering around.

We have so many doves living on or around The Compound, and I figured this one was a mourning dove. Much to his dismay, I used a small stick from his nest to direct him into a box, where’d I’d placed the part of the nest I could salvage. I was keeping a wary eye skyward, as I didn’t want an irate parent to swoop down on me, but when she finally arrived, she stayed on the ground, getting as close to me as she dared, to watch what I was doing with her young’un.

What I really wanted was to return the nest to the tree–a nice leafy, tall ornamental in our front flower bed (planted as a tiny thing by James many years ago, we call it “John’s tree” in his late boyfriend’s memory), but the good branches are too high for me to reach, even by ladder. I finally took this from the backyard, where it’s been hanging with a dead plant forever, and transferred nest and reluctant baby into it.

(iPhone picture added after original post.)

Once the new home was hanging in the tree, the baby bird clung to the wire edges instead of getting into the nest. Mama landed a couple of times, pecking at the nest and apparently soothing her child. Later, Tim moved it higher so the birds wouldn’t be so exposed while hanging from the lower branches. A couple of times I checked on them by looking through windows. I was watching when the dad showed up. Mama flew over the sticks on the ground, as if saying, “See? I told you we shouldn’t have scrimped on building supplies and hired that cheap contractor.”

Tim and I left to run errands, and by the time we returned, Mama had coaxed baby down into the nest, and they were both resting (though she’s not in this photo).

Late afternoon, I checked on them again. No parents were around, and baby was still in the nest, but now I realized that the afternoon sun was baking him.

Fortunately, Tom came home not long after and using the ladder, was able to find a great place for the hanging nest where leaves would shade it from the sun at any angle.

This whole procedure was watched from high in our redbud tree by both parents.

Just before dark, Tom checked on them again, and mother and child were both sleeping inside the new home.

This morning, I went outside to see how things were. I spotted Mama on the branch next to the nest.

Then, when I walked beneath it, guess who I spied enjoying the day, as if none of yesterday’s trauma ever happened?

I think the Muse of Stevie Nicks will bring good luck to me because as it turns out, this is a family of white-winged doves.

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14 Responses to He was no more than a baby then

  1. Marika says:

    … I happen to know that the lyrics are really ONE WINGED DOVE. :)

  2. ablueskyboy says:

    A metal nest is a nice touch. I wonder if it would catch on with the other birds in the neighborhood.

  3. Robert Edler says:

    No offense to Mrs. Dove, but Dale sure is one ugly baby. I named him Dale because when you found him … Der’be Downed Dale.

  4. Mark says:

    How wonderful. I really thought it was going to end badly (Me? A pessimist?)

    I hope karma rewards you.

    • Becky says:

      So far so good. At least as of about ten last night. Mama and baby Dale were out of the nest and roosting in various branches, side by side. I haven’t yet checked on them today.

      I’m glad to be one of the helpers, even for the critters that scare me–the rats and the spiders–as long as they stay out of my house. I freely admit that my kindness does not extend to roaches or mosquitoes.

  5. Sea_weed says:

    Nice! :-)

    • Becky says:

      Yesterday, I could spot only the mama bird in the branches. Today, no mama and no baby. I’m hoping this means he learned to fly and they’ve moved on.

  6. Debbie says:

    So awesome! It’s good that the mom was able to observe you & come back to the nest. Any time we tried to do something like that when I was growing up, it was never successful. Or maybe doves are more compassionate towards their babies than robins?

    • Becky says:

      I was shocked. I kept dreading the moment when she might abandon him, but even as recently as three days ago, though he can fly on his own now, she was still being a watchful mom. I haven’t seen them since, so maybe the little teenager has gone out on his own.

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