Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mourning Dove Family III (Part 4)

Progression to Flight Day

                                             Monday, June 18, 2012
                                             Alice and Eddie...eight and nine days old;
                                             so quickly they've grown, hard to believe.
                                             Afternoon terrible clatter of branches being buzzed,
                                             then placed in a mulcher to be noisily disposed!!!
                                             Albert remains...with no effort to leave ~
                                             their babes, above all, must be safely protected.

                                            Victoria arrives and on the railing she waits;
                                             in about three minutes, she jumps to the chair.
                                             Albert tells of the noise as they silently chatter.
                                             He steps from the nest...and side by side,
                                             I see fledgling-sized birds who've grown so much.
                                             “Conversation” extends to four or five minutes.
                                             Albert swoops off…Alice and Eddie need food!
                                             Victoria feeds them...standing outside the nest.

                                             The parents, I've noticed give squabs independence,
                                             for two or three hours...leaving them alone.
                                             The sun bathes the balcony late afternoon
                                             and with tropical breezes, ever so warm.

                                             Maturing, they are, flexing wide-spread wings
                                             with many black speckles and white-tipped tails.
                                             They are beautiful, little adults..a delight to see!
                                             With parents away, Alice and Eddie, I photo.

                                             It's been a hot, humid day...for the birds and me.
                                             At 6:30 pm, Victoria flutters to the nest.
                                             She physically pumps regurgitated food
                                             to voraciously feed these wide-opened mouths.
                                             All are now happy...she rests with her birdies.

                                             Wednesday, June 20
                                             Fresh air and warm breeze ~ Alice and Eddie so restless!
                                             No parent in sight and to my surprise ~
                                             one fledgling in the nest...the other on the seat.
                                             They sit  side by side, facing opposite directions
                                             with bodies touching, nest twigs between feet.
                                             Albert swoops to the rear railing late morning,
                                             then jumps to the nest, thrustingly feeds.
                                             They're 2/3 his size, almost fully developed.
                                             It's possible this weekend, they'll all be flying.
                                                           And now the scene changes ~
                                             Albert covers the nest with his long sleek body;
                                            his tail feathers protruding through wrought iron spaces.
                                            Alice and Eddie...both outside the  flat twiggy nest...
                                            standing together in opposite directions
                                            busy preening feathers, flexing beautiful wings. 

                                            At one pm, my son telephoned...
                                            must leave on an out-of-town errand.,
                                            not returning  until after ten pm.
                                            I checked “my lovely family” and there is a parent
                                           who'll protect them through night, until the sun rises.

                                            Thursday, June 21
                                            'twill be a hot, humid day; my shade balcony invites;
                                            with vanilla coffee and jammed toast in hand
                                            I join my active doves as they restlessly behave.
                                           WOW!  They're busy!  Victoria's harassed
                                            to feed anxious “kids” with wings all-a-flutter.
                                            She pumps nourishing food into .ravishing mouths.
                                            They  groom excessively their tawny brown feathers;
                                            then the “kids” open wings, flapping 4 inch spreads.
                                            They're energy-loaded; after strenuous “workout”.
                                            Victoria is tired...and the fledglings near exhaustion.
                                            She stands at nest's edge with pointed tail through spaces.
                                            Eddie and Alice are the nest.
                                            Fifteen minutes later, she graciously swoops
                                            away from her home and into blue sky.
                                            My “twin darlings” sit pertly with puffed out chests;
                                            they're very alert and ready to …... what?

                                            Many round charcoal pebbles...I see                         
                                            beneath the chair seat on the concrete floor;
                                            it's excrement from the babies
                                            (who've nowhere to “go”, til time to fly).
                                            None of this occurs before the eggs hatch.

                                            Albert skillfully flies in at12:35,
                                            stands outside the nest...then sits;
                                            with strong thrusting thrusts into depths of mouths;
                                            admonishes, “Settle down!  Be less rambunctious!”
                                            Dad finally rests on the flattened twiggy nest
                                            with the birdies outside on the wrought iron seat.
                                            One “eyes and studies” the arm of the chair
                                            and contemplates.. just what he can do.
                                            Alice and Eddie “bill” busily their feathers
                                            (almost a fetish...for what this precludes),
                                            while nonchalantly sits Dad serenely at nest.

                                             I  heard him “twitter, twitter” into the trees;
                                             the wrought iron seat , where they're now perched
                                             against the arm, seems comfortable to them.
                                             The high temperature sun is beating down on them ~
                                             a bird bath, I wish, I could give to them.

                                             The sky darkened and the winds blew hard;
                                             Thunder was prevalent, as yet no lightning.
                                             As the temperature dropped, light rain came down.
                                             Alice and Eddie nestled close together;
                                             their feathers ruffled before the pending storm

                                              One hour later, the winds ceased to gale;
                                              the smokey gray clouds quickly scudding east..
                                              The sun, golden rimmed some new-found clouds
                                              and birds in the trees sing their evening songs.

                                               Friday, June 22
                                               A gorgeous sunny day, no evidence of rain;
                                               cooler air and a fresh lake breeze.
                                               Three on the nest ...that's been worn very flat;
                                               Alice and Eddie...exercise their wings.

                                               Returned from the Common Room...a Big Surprise!
                                               Saw my nuisance black squirrel with large bushy tail
                                               scoot along the investigative search!
                                               I feared for my birdies...he must do them no harm!
                                               Persistently I scared him...he scrambled down the wall
                                               that's three storeys high…hope he doesn't return!
                                               Victoria steps out to rest on the chair,
                                               crouched on  pinkish red feet...she muses..
                                               Several moments pass by, she checks at the nest.
                                               “Twitters” usual message and soars to high wires.

                                                Saturday, June 23 – is this “Flight Day?”
                                                Three huddled on the nest, this coolish morn
                                                while the birds serenade among leafy trees.
                                                The three resettle at 9:20 am
                                                ('tis Eddie who sits on the seat of the chair).
                                                 Albert "twitters in" twenty minutes later.
                                                 My birdies are alert, both standing on nest.
                                                 Lovely Victoria gracefully arrives.
                                                 Alice and Eddie flutter their wings...
                                                 she waits a moment ..and .energizingly feeds.
                                                 They pester dear “Mom”...more attention they want
                                                 She  ignores her birdies...telling them to stop!

                                                  Between parents and squabs, no word is spoken.
                                                  Body language tells all as the message is given.
                                                  “Twitter, Twitter, Twitter,” the parents announce
                                                   upon arrivals and departures from nest.

                                                   It's 11am and I've a game online ~
                                                   playing bridge with Renda who in Oregon lives.
                                                   Heard a few “twitters” and when “dummy”, I checked
                                                   ...only Alice and parent in sight.
                                                   Perhaps the “twitters” were invites “to fly”
                                                   while they waited in the trees for squabs to take flight.
                                                   Checking again, throughout my bridge game,
                                                    both birdies were...edgy, nervous and anxious.
                                                    They swivelled their heads from side to side
                                                    with feet all-a-jumpy for this new excursion..
                                                    Their necks are extended and beaks out straight;
                                                    wings are a-flutter as a test before flight.

                                                    My 12:30 return saw action....Alice!!!
                                                    She didn't wait...was I surprised?
                                                    She spread her tail...white feather tipped
                                                    and like a kite in the wind...she soared ~
                                                    over the railing  ~ in perfect flight form
                                                    into the trees... and never came back.

                                                     Eddie, remember, was hatched a day later.
                                                     He's completely confused about her departure.
                                                     Anxiously he looks and questions his dilemma.
                                                     ”Leaving without me,"  he sadly wonders.
                                                      He's in a quandary...about what to do!
                                                      He looks parent to advise.
                                                      He looks in the nest ...and settles therein.
                                                      His heart beat is up and he nervously sits
                                                      and hopes this predicament soon will be solved.
                                                      He stares up...surveys possibilities
                                                      then settles quite low for an afternoon rest.
                                                       Some cold fruit punch, I'd sure love to have;
                                                       gone for a minute...I quickly returned.
                                                       I saw him…jump to the arm, jump to the railing.
                                                      With wide-spread tail and wide-spread wings
                                                       he fluttered into space and into the trees.

                                                         Bon Voyage … my fine feathered Friends!

Truly, I am so honoured and blessed that three Mourning Dove Families
have given me valuable experiences in studying the lives of these birds ...
whose lifestyles parallel those of humans in so many ways.
(Read “Nuisance to Miracle” Part IV....posted August 2011; at the end
is a great comparison that may interest you).  Fortunately I've had the time
to follow and pursue the daily activities over a 4-week period from the
laying of eggs to hatching, to raising their squabs to fledglings enabling them
to fly in 14 or15 days.
            It  is unique to know that all families and children differ.
            No announcement to other doves about the birth of first hatching (Family I)
            Parents had no visible attendance on “flight day” in Family 3.
            Both the children of Family 3 showed quick maturity of development.
            In lieu of 12 hour shift changes, today's family had 5-6 hour shifts.

“Pearl of Wisdom”
Carolyn Gordon, novelist and literary critic
who died in 1981 said,
A well composed book is a magic carpet on which we are walked
to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.

Thank you  Papa and Rosie, Carlo and Bella, Albert and Victoria
for giving me this “carpet to walk upon.”

Merle Baird-Kerr … written June 23, 2012
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  1. What a wonderful experience to have with another species exemplifying, both having shared, trust and faith.
    Once in a lifetime is really remarkable..but three times is a Blessing.
    Greatly related here for all to enjoy.

  2. Thank you greatly for your comments...
    you have been an inspiration to me,
    with encouragement to "write on" as these
    wonderful experiences occur.