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A Bird In The Hand...
By By Sue Carpenter
Jul 5, 2007, 15:41

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Pat Monte’s front door wreath holds the nest for the mourning dove and the two babies
RIVERVIEW - Several weeks ago Pat Monte of Riverview arrived home from work, pulled into her garage, and as usual checked her front door for packages and notices. The wreath on her door had fallen and was sitting on the welcome mat.

As she approached, she spotted a mother mourning dove and her baby sitting a few inches apart, surrounded by bits of broken shell. The mother bird flapped past, landing at the end of the sidewalk where she sat and watched.

“When I picked up the wreath to hang on the door, I discovered another baby underneath. It only took seconds, but I gingerly lifted each fuzzy baby and placed them in the slipshod twig nest. The babies were so scrunched up and scared. Their hearts were pitter pattering so fast when I held them in my hand,” Monte said.

As she turned to leave, the mother bird perched in a tree, and watched intensely. Monte went back through the garage and went into her home. “About ten minutes later I walked to my front foyer and looked through the leaded glass of the door. You could hear the babies chirping, but they were hidden underneath the mother bird. She looked right at me. She always seems to sense when I’m there to check on her. I love her. I was so touched by her plight,” Monte said.

Later Monte printed a sign and attached it to a bush along the front walkway warning people not to disturb the bird nested in her wreath. It should only be another week before the fledglings are able to fly.

Monte’s experience is fairly common. Mourning doves like to build a nest in a hanging planter or on a wreath. Doves take good care of their offspring, but curiously are not good nest builders.

The female stays at the nest site while the male collects sticks. He then stands on her back to give her the nest material. She takes it and weaves it into the nest. Maybe that’s why the nests are so poorly built. The mourning dove usually lays two eggs and may have up to five or six clutches in a single year. The dove parents rarely leave the eggs unattended. The male usually incubates from midmorning until late afternoon, and the female sits on them the rest of the day and night.

© Copyright 2007 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

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