This shingles virus is really kicking my butt, so I’m still not really well enough to write a new post, so here’s one I did for Patch earlier this year. Not that funny (I always try to be funny), but kind of sweet. Hopefully I’ll be back to my old self by next week.
We have a ladder leaning against our house outside the back door. We probably should have found a better home for it. But this month, someone else found a home in it.
A few weeks ago, a dove suddenly appeared with twigs and leaves and built a nest on the top rung of the ladder.
She picked a most unfortunate spot to lay her eggs. Not only do we have two large dogs, a bird-loving cat (as in a meal, not a playdate), and two rat-laden fruit trees, but my four-year old was bumping the ladder every day in an effort to check out his new pet. The little birdlings didn’t have a chance in hell for survival. The final nail in the coffin was that we were getting a new roof for our house, and surely the nest would be destroyed by workers, falling tiles, wood and nails or the abandonment of their mother to escape the sheer cacophony of pounding eight hours each day.
The dove was so still most days, I was certain she had already died and was just waiting to decompose. I considered bringing it water and bugs, but I was afraid I would spook her and do more harm than good.
Then about two weeks ago, I realized that the bird was probably not deceased, since it was now facing the opposite direction than it had been for the past week. The reason? There were two baby doves next to it, and they were all taking up the tiny 5×12 inch space.
The birds were no longer protected inside their little shells, safely tucked underneath their mama. They had hatched and were completely vulnerable to all the urban (ok… suburban) dangers that had been a reality before they broke free from their eggs, but now those threats were big, fat, in-you-face dangers.
The cat ignored the birds. The dogs almost seemed to protect it, with even more vigor as they chased rats up the trees. The roofers were careful not to topple the nest, and my son steered away from the ladder as he stood on top of the patio chair to get a good look.
A few days ago the mother dove starting flying off for hours at a time to join another bird, and my husband reminded me that doves mate for life. I had been so busy looking at the mother and babies that I didn’t notice that there must have been a fourth bird spying at them too. The mommy bird would return to the nest to feed her babies whatever regurgitation mother birds feed their babies (which makes human breastfeeding seem so much more palatable in comparison), then fly back to the phone lines to perch next to soulmate.
Yesterday the babies flew away. We watched them throughout the day as they fluttered into the shrubs, and for the first night in a month the ladder propped up against our house was empty of life.
So often people live their lives full of fear – fear of financial insecurity, fear of being embarrassed, fear of earthquakes, fear of death, fear of the unknown… fill in the blank with anything. Yet this little mama dove defied dogs, cats, rats, roofers, and a curious four-year old, sat tight on her eggs for a couple of weeks and raised her babies long enough for them to fly off and become independent birds.