At Home In the Pines
by Karen Barchent
The giant pine trees in our front yard have been a haven for many of nature's creatures over the years, and August, 2009 was no exception. I retired several months ago, so I have had the wonderful opportunity to be more observant of God's Beauty right in my own yard.
I recently joked to my friends that it must be a sure sign of getting old, because the highlight of my Labor Day Weekend this year was video taping a nest of mourning doves!
It wasn't much of a nest. It was merely a few twigs which had been tossed together in an almost disorderly fashion, and placed on a large branch just above my eye level; however, the location could not have been better for bird-watching.
For days, my four-year old niece and I were able to sit on the couch in front of the living room picture window to watch as the entire process unfolded before us.
Occasionally, I walked out to the nest, eager to get that "perfect photo", and the parents didn't seem to mind at all that I was so close to their nest.
We marveled at the speed in which those little babies matured once the eggs hatched! One day they were just a little puff of down, and just a few short days later, their little heads popped up, their dark eyes darting here and there, eager to take in the world.
It actually took a bit of time to convince my niece's mother that they were, indeed, the same baby doves, when she saw them after a four day lapse in time.
I was practically paranoid that I might miss something. Every morning, I checked the nest, then quickly pressed "record" on the camcorder which I had carefully placed on a tripod at the picture window.
How "interesting" ~ about 3 boring video hours of two baby birds sitting in a nest sleeping, surrounded by summer insects; the buzz of cicadas in the humming in the background. Wow.
I did get some rather nice clips of them feeding, though, and eventually they began to stretch and spread out their wings, as if to test their purpose in their lives.
One morning, on about day 12, I delayed my recording process for some reason, and in that half-hour span of time, you guessed it ~ they left the nest. How disappointing!
However, my husband quickly found them both amongst the flowers surrounding the front porch, and I was able to get some nice film footage and photographs before they left. Unfortunately, I have not seen them since that day, but I am sure they are fine.