Monday, August 22, 2011


I have a small problem.  It's a dove mother.  Or mother dove.  It's in a tiny nest on the arbor in front of the house.  A week or so ago, I noticed a shattered egg on the tile.  I looked up and saw this rather raggedy nest.  And I saw a dove's tail end on top of it.  Uh-oh, says I.  They're breeding.  But it's been several days now and each time I pass under it I look up and there she sits.  She has reversed her position now so I'm looking right up into her face (?).  Her big dove eye stares back at me and never blinks.  Nor does she tremble or move even a millisec.  (Whatever that is.)  I had become concerned and asked SWMBO "do you suppose she's dead?"  I mean, she looks petrified.  But then she reversed her position so I know she's alive.  And that eye.  It haunts me.  It doesn't blink.  I wonder if doves CAN blink their eyes.  She doesn't seem to be afraid of me, though I stare at her from only a foot or so distance.  And she stays.  I mean, the temperature has been around 90 in the daytime and she's always on the damned nest!  I asked SWMBO tonight how long dove eggs take to hatch.  She said maybe as much as three weeks.  I said "But she doesn't ever seem to leave the nest.  What about food?  What about water?  I've even thought of somehow bringing her a tiny cup of water."  SWMBO laughed at me.  She said "she'll be okay, she probably leaves the nest to eat and drink . . (SOMEWHERE) . . in the early morning."

Well, we don't particularly like doves.  They cluster around and they're noisy with their "hoo-huh-hoo-hoo" sounds constantly.  But.  And it's a big but.  This is a mother dove.  So I'm stuck checking on her, worrying about her.  Gawd!  I feel so stupid.

If you're still reading, give some thought to my blogger buddy Joan, down in Charleston, South Carolina.  She seems to be right in the path of the new Hurricane Irene.  Tell her to keep her head down.


Tom Cochrun said...

a stream of random thoughts in response.
great catch with the Prince tune. I would not have given you that credit-for being hip to Prince. Very good.
I suspect she might leave when you are, sleeping, eating, or not there.
some of the doves out here do a coo that sounds like
"straw-berry fish" "straw-berry fish" etc

and your serial rant the other day was good. reminded me of an old earl wilson column--if earl was on crack.

Catalyst said...

I picked up the Prince tune from 1984, when I was running with a younger crowd at the '84 Olympics in L.A.

Earl Wilson on crack. Now there's an image!

carollynde said...

I don't know if doves cry, but they do blink, but not quite the same way humans do. Birds have an extra eyelid, a transparent membrane that lets them blink without closing their eyes. This "nictitating" membrane helps keep a bird's eyes moist without blocking vision during flight. Birds usually close their main eyelids only when asleep.
Probably more than you wanted to know. I hope Mama dove does OK.

Lucy said...

Aw, you old softy! Pigeons and doves do seem to be a bit chaotic in their reproduction, unsuccessful eggs, half built nests etc, but there are plenty of them about so they must be successful overall, and she wouldn't still be alive if she didn't get the food and water she needed. No sign of papa dove then?

Thérèse said...

Nice comment from Carollynde...

BRD said...

First...seems you might have smoked a fatty before this post! Here is most likely the deal. When she sees you, she will stay as still as possible so not to bring attention to her or her nest. She also will sit still to not crush or disturb her eggs. You saw what happens when she makes the wrong move! Doves do blink! The M was right. She will leave the nest to refresh when she feels her brood will be most safe...or her other half might be bringing her treats. The damn Jays or other predators are probably just waiting for her to take a break...but alas...that is mother nature at work. She has made it this far...she will be fine. sound like an expectant father!!!

Catalyst said...

Carol - Thanks for the info. She seems o.k. so far.

Lucy - Y'know, I checked a couple of times this morning. First time the head was staring at me. Second time all I saw was a rear end. It struck me that the rear part may be the father. Maybe they're taking turns sitting on the egg(s).

Therese - Yes, it was.

BRD - Well, you know I haven't witnessed too many births in my time.

Steve said...

You are an observer of nature. Good on you.