Mourning dove in our flower box
Nikon Df, 70.0-300.0mm f/4.0-5.6G AF Nikkor
The flower boxes on the deck railing looked terrible as spring began, as last year’s dead annuals were still in them. But then one plant in particular came back in each box anyway.
We were surprised and amused one morning to find a mourning dove sitting in the middle of that plant in the middle box. When she was still there when we came home from work, we figured she was nesting.
She was. We inadvertently frightened her off one morning, so we went out to find two little eggs where her body had parted the plant.
She sat vigilantly for days and days. Weeks. Might have been a month; I wasn’t paying enough attention to time. But then one evening we noticed a second mourning dove perched on the box’s edge. Mama bird shortly flew off, and the other bird — we assume it was papa — made his way onto the nest.
Margaret researched mourning doves and learned that they are monogomous and cooperate in the incubating and raising of their young. Sure enough, when the eggs hatched both mom and dad were involved in care and feeding. One afternoon we were fortunate to watch the hatchlings greedily eating from one of their parents’ mouth.
Margaret also learned that mourning doves can have as many as six broods in a season. They are prolific, but they are also frequent prey. They have to reproduce frequently to keep from dying off!
After the first brood flew the nest, we had a few days without our birds and we thought we were done. But then we found one of the young from the original brood (we think) on the nest! This is when things started getting confusing. We also saw the original mama and papa on the nest. There must be more eggs. But is raising young truly a multi-generation affair?
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