Extra Dove Fledgling in Nest After Storm
by Bird Brain
survivor waiting for momma after falling in October
Around 7:30 a.m. today, while trying to wake up and get ready for work, I peeked gently through the blinds to check on the 2 fledgling Mourning Doves residing in the nest outside my window.
I find, to my surprise & confusion, an extra bird in the nest! Where did this other chap come from? Was it always there and did I somehow overlook it? Is it just too early and I'm still dreaming?
I live in Richmond, Texas (kinda near Houston) and a pretty big storm powered through here last night. Strong winds, lots of rain, thunder & lightning blew into the wee hours. A couple of times it woke me up.
From the safety & comfort of my bed, I felt concern for the 2 baby birds we'd been keeping an eye on for a few weeks. I thought, "hang in there little buddies!" and hoped they'd get through the night.
Not only did they survive just fine, looks like they've picked up another sibling, and the Dove parents have adopted another mouth to feed.
There's also a bit of back story which makes this even more interesting, at least to me. This past August 2014, I moved back to Texas after living and chasing my own tail in Brooklyn, NY for 13 years.
After letting the city grind me up & spit me out a few times, it was time to come back home. Don't get me wrong, I Heart NYC obviously, or I wouldn't have moved there for that very reason or stayed as long as I did.
But one of the things I missed most about Texas was how easy it was to connect with nature. Yes there are parks in New York, but it's not quite the same.
Yes there are Mockingbirds there, and sometimes lightning bugs. I've seen a healthy family of large raccoons in a populated residential area and had two CLOSE-proximity sightings of Red-Tailed Hawks, all in Brooklyn.
Yes there's nature there, and it thrives. If you haven't already, you really should see the rats. However, it's not the kind of town where most people can step outside bare-footed into the cold dewy grass of the morning and enjoy their coffee or tea.
Deeply missing a more quiet & intimate connection with Mother Nature was one of many factors informing the decision to leave NY. Suffice to say I was ready to head back South.
Hopefully you can now picture my delight when a Mourning Dove couple built a nest on this tiny brick window sill in late September to early October 2014.
Just about 6-weeks after moving back to Texas and into a room upstairs in my parents' house, watching the quirky doves build their goofy fragile nest was perfect and peaceful.
I loved coming home after work to see them nesting, soon guarding & sitting on 2 perfect little eggs. We showed the nest to my young nephew & niece, who were pretty good not to scare away the parent birds.
When the eggs hatched we all were excited to finally see two baby birds in the nest, right outside my window pane.
We would creep up to the window and watch them grow and being fed by what we thought was the momma bird. A few weeks later however, the nest and both babies were swept out of the window sill by early Autumn weather.
It may not have been much more than a strong breeze anyway, as the nest really was just barely perched on the second-floor sill. I found the nest on the ground beneath, with both chicks nearby.
Since only one survived the trauma, it triggered contemplation of said nature, and life & death. Mourning Doves apparently are notorious for picking odd spots for nests & then building flimsy ones. It's natural. The wind blew the nest and babies to the ground. Nature. I decided to nail a plank to the brick window sill to create a guard rail for the nest. My nature.
After donning mismatched gardening gloves found in my parents garage, I rubbed them in dirt to hopefully mask my human scent. (Ew.) I carefully scooped up the surviving baby dove and set it in the nest, placed under a watering can for protection.
The ladder was rickety, nailing the board to the bricks & mortar was precarious, and returning the nest with it's one vulnerable occupant to the window sill was a little sad.
It felt ok to have possibly helped it to survive, but we didn't know if the mother or father would come back, or if the nest would even stay put in a real storm. Plus one tiny baby bird had already died.
Of course the surviving chick turned into a fledgling, learned how to fly, and one day it was gone from the nest along with the 2 adults.
Didn't see it ever again, at least to our knowledge. We hoped and wondered if it had been successful, found a mate, and built a nest of it's own, maybe in a better location than its parents had please. Months passed, Winter came & went (worse for some than others, nature...) the old nest just sat there abandoned & in disrepair.
Until just a few weeks ago, where if you recall we began this whole story. The Mourning Dove couple came back (assuming it's the original pair). They did some repairs to the nest and have raised 2 healthy fledgling doves who have been learning to fly.
And now because of a storm, and probably an unseen but neighboring dove nest that was, by nature, built unsound, this couple have now increased the survival of their species by adopting & feeding a third fledgling Mourning Dove to their nest.
Let's assume it's the same couple, since these doves are known to mate for life. They lost one of two babies in The Fall. In a crazier storm they gained a baby this morning. Pretty cool.
What does this all mean? I have no idea except to say it's all part of nature. You may call it God's plan, or destiny, and you may say human intervention is wrong.
I'm glad I helped in October by reinforcing the window sill so the first fledgling bird might survive, and was happy that the birds came back to try another brood in the same spot.
It seems extra beautiful to me that they've now adopted a third baby in their instinct to survive as a species.
Probably it deepens my connection to this story that I was also adopted by my parents as a baby. And something about all this time away and still being able to return to the nest.
It may interest you to know that in the past hour or so, as I've been writing this, a thunderstorm similar to last night has rolled in around us. Lots of lightning & thunder.
The nest is empty as of a while ago. They were all 3 sitting there on the board I added, facing out & seeming to watch the storm come in. The next time I looked they were gone. Hoping they're all somewhere safe, wondering if they'll come back. Guess we'll see. Or not.