We've been watching a mourning dove pair for a couple of weeks from our dining room as they patiently sit on their nest. The birds reminded me of a story written by my friend, Christy Myers, about a similar experience. I hope you enjoy reading her piece!
My husband Ken and I sit at the end of our dining room table next to the window, reading the Sunday paper and having our tea, eggs and English muffins. Next to the window, house finches are building a nest in a handmade bird feeder that looks like a miniature gazebo. The tiny birds investigated sites throughout the garden and finally decided the gazebo was not only the most elaborate birdhouse on the block, but they could see themselves hatching their young and giving flying lessons from its railings.
We attract birds to our garden with flowers and a stone birdbath. Fat sparrows stop by and test the water before jumping in and flicking water up over their heads and wings. They puff up and bristle their feathers. More water, more fluffing, then they hop to a neighboring branch on the lemon tree and clean their beaks by rubbing on each side of the branch. The garden is filled with oranges and pinks, which beckons hummingbirds. In the spring, they flit through the white blooming apple tree and sometimes land on top of an iron trellis that the clematis climbs.
Last spring a male house finch crashed into our bedroom window over and over until I went out on the porch to investigate. He and his wife had built a nest in the vine that grows up our second story balcony. The nest was at eye level so I peered in and discovered five tiny aqua eggs. I showed Ken; he was visibly moved by the sight. As the day wore on the male flailed himself at the window, warding off the intruding male that he saw in the window's reflection.
I'm sad about what happened next. I didn't want the male to kill himself against our window so I interfered and moved the nest. As I had the nest in my hands, I remembered, "If you touch the nest, the parents will abandon it." I quickly put it back as best as I could. The bird parents circled the garden, calling out upset warnings, then flew away. Ken was upset with me, especially the next day when I found remnants of blue eggs on the patio. Some other bird had raided the nest.
Ken and I inspected the nest and blinked back tears as we saw how intricately it was made. There were sticks on the outside. To cushion the eggs inside, the birds used soft material including white dog hair from our terrier Piper and our own dryer fluff. We mourned for two days the loss of the eggs. I kept thinking of the five potential babies and their eventual offspring. I'd squashed a dynasty of birds. I vowed never to interfere with nesting again.
Meanwhile, today as we finish our breakfast, we can hear the symphony of birdsong outside. The finch couple takes a break from nest building and rests on the back of the weathered grey teak bench. A fluttering of mating, then they're off to the birdbath for a well-deserved drink. Their heads dip up and down to scoop up the water with their beaks. A big black bird with chartreuse and red on its wings stops to share a sip.
As Ken and I watch, the female finch brings some fuzzy garden debris and places it in the nest. Then she gets in and wiggles herself to test the softness for her future eggs. The male finch perches on top of the bird nest gazebo, puffs up his brilliant red chest and sings his heart away.
|These are quick sketches while watching our mourning doves on the nest.|