Friday, May 30, 2008

Living In Bucket In Palm Tree...Wish You Were Here!

Can you stand to read one more post about birds? It’s what’s going on around here these days. You cannot step outside without hearing “Cheep, cheep, cheep” from every corner. The nests are so well camouflaged that, though I can clearly hear the babies, I cannot see them. Given the season that is in it and her own personal, feather-raising adventures, I invited my friend, Mme. Dove, to do a guest post today, in which she will recount for you the disastrous turn events took in her life, and the lives of her children this past weekend. Here she is………….

"We've been living in the trees out behind MB's house for a couple of years now, my mate and I. This spring we found the best location ever for our nest, between the fronds of a palm tree not far from the house. The fronds provided shade and privacy, and their sharp barbs ensured that Mrs.Hussy Squirrel, and her cheeky, unruly children wouldn't be poking their inquisitive noses into our nest. Not being a place easily slithered to, we also thought our eggs would be safe there from snakes. All in all an ideal location. Monsieur Dove and I got busy. We gathered twigs and Spanish moss from nearby trees, and soon had a cozy place in which to raise this year's nestlings. In due time I laid the eggs and we took turns sitting on them to keep them warm. We were so proud of our sweet babies when they finally hatched!

And THEN, just when they were within a week of starting their flight training, along came The Bean. The Bean, in case you were not aware, is MB's son. He pretty much single-handedly takes care of the garden, but this particular day he had help. His Dad, known in blogging circles as the OC, was home from the still-chilly north for a surprise weekend visit.It was a beautiful day and they had taken it into their heads to do some drastic pruning. Which was none of my business, of course..... Humans will do what humans feel moved to do..... At least not until The Bean approached my tree, brandishing some lethal-looking loppers. I tell you, I almost had a heart attack. My children are so quiet and well behaved, he had no way of knowing they were nearby. I fluttered close, but to no avail. Before I could blink, my precious babies and our lovingly constructed nest went crashing to the ground. The Bean spotted my lovelies immediately and bent in consternation to pick them up. He cradled them so gently, while my poor heart throbbed in my breast.

"Please don't hurt them," I silently pleaded.

He looked around and saw me sitting on the wall, watching helplessly.

He murmured something softly to me and reached for a little bucket on the ground nearby.

Ever so carefully he eased the remnants of our nest, along with my two bewildered babies into the bucket. They made me proud, they sat so still. As I watched anxiously from my perch on the wall, The Bean reached up into the palm tree and wedged the bucket securely in place.

Then he and the OC looked expectantly from it to me, talking softly to me all the while. Though I longed to go and comfort my little ones I thought it best to wait a while.....What will our neighbours think when they see me sitting in a white plastic bucket where our lovely comfy nest used to be? They might think it's the very latest in modern dove condos! Although it is a bit primitive. It doesn't look as nice as our traditional nest at all, but what do humans know about weaving twigs and fur and feathers together to form a safe and comfortable home for the likes of us? What they lacked in nest-building skill though, they made up for in trying to make amends for their clumsiness.....Most importantly,and to my great relief, junior and his little sister seem none the worse for the mishap, and I'm hoping we'll be right on schedule to start flight training in the next few days."

Afterword by Molly, [who always has the last word, at least around here.]
I wondered about Monsieur Dove. He was nowhere in evidence when Cyclone Bean descended on his family's nesting quarters. Was he some kind of absentee/deadbeat dad, the kind who stick around just long enough to donate their DNA, decide that the long hours and emotional drainage of child rearing is not for the debonair likes of them, and wander off in search of adventure and fulfillment elsewhere? Mama Dove certainly looked like she was coping with her disaster all alone.

But this morning, when I went outside early to check on the residents of the world's ugliest bird nest, I found, not only Mama Dove's head peeking up from the white plastic rim, but Papa Dove's too! Photographic evidence below.

So he's not a deadbeat dad! He has not absented himself! He's right here pulling his weight. Maybe he was away on family business? And now he's back to be the chief flight instructor? Although, when I was learning to drive, my dad, all breezy and confident, drove me down to the Dock Road for my first lesson. Half an hour later, chastened and trembling, he drove me home and handed the keys, mutely, to my mother......Which just goes to show that hair on your chest and a deep bass do not necessarily make you the best choice for driving/flight instructor. So now the whole Dove family is reunited. As we watch those fledglings learn to fly we'll be feeling a little parental pride ourselves.

Note to the worried: Do not fret. He-Who-Barfs-On-Quilts is on lockdown until all these babies are airborne!

Late breaking update: Out to have another peek around sundown tonight, ever-present camera in hand. Junior [below] did not like the flash and fluttered off like an old pro to another tree!

Little sister was not so brave. She needs more time. Maybe she'll take to the air tomorrow.....

Meanwhile, these older fledglings were spotted relaxing in the

bushes in front of the house.....And from the bathroom window this morning I spotted another patient dove mama sitting in another nest in another tree at the side of the house. As I mentioned earlier, you can't step outside these days without hearing a chorus of "Cheep, cheep, cheep!"


Tanya Brown said...

My heart was in my throat for a bit, reading that. I'm glad that all turned out well, and that the doves accepted the change of venue.

thailandchani said...

WE've also had doves in the back yard. It's been for at least a month now.

riseoutofme said...

And where was all this excitement LAST year when I had ample opportunity to witness it??? Wish Iwas there!

Anonymous said...

Lucky that Bean is such a quick thinker!

Stomper Girl said...

Poor Bean, I bet he felt awful!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I love the bird story Molly. We have doves that my husband feeds but we haven't discovered a nest. I do think there might be one in the bush outside my bedroom window but it is so dense I can't even get a glimpse!

Thimbleanna said...

What a great story Molly! So glad it had a happy ending and those babies are safe!

meggie said...

What a great story! So glad that the little ones are safe, & the parents didn't desert them.
What a soft hearted pair, are the Bean & the OC!

Kacey said...

Lovely story and great pictures. I read this while on Wi-Fi in a motel on the way home to Ohio from Florida and had to come back to take more time with this really great post. I love it that you actually took the time to document the whole process in pictures.

Pam said...

Well, I'm glad that little birdies don't sit on the ground near our pussy cats. I think the temptation to give them a bit of a lick might be too great.

Good for Bean, however. A kindly brought-up lad. I would never have thought that would have worked but it all goes to show.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

How lovely!

That was very well written, I enjoyed it thoroughly, as I always do when I get the opportunity to visit here.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore (he's being very still and hiding behind me so as not to frighten the doves...)

Avus said...

Hi Molly
Just popped by to thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog.
I don't know how you found me, but heck - anyone who likes biking, The Lion in Winter and Enya can't be all bad! (to paraphrase Stan Laurel)

Unknown said...

We have a family of wrens living in a hanging basket on our patio. We can't see the babies but we can hear them. Mama and Papa are about to fly their wings off feeding them. We are going to have to keep a close eye out for them when they start to fledge and keep Her Doggness inside.