Dove on Fire Escape

by Linda Marks Katz
( New York City)

Dove on Fire Escape

Dove on Fire Escape

Doves Nesting on Fire Escape Several Floors Up

We are city dwellers. . . N.Y.C. that is. That means, we must go to the nearest park to find nature.

But something wonderful has happened. Nature came to us! I was away on a sisterhood relaxation weekend and came back to find a dove nesting on our fire escape.

The loosely packed nest and exquisite color of the bird caught my eye.

I stared in amazement and a surge of maternal protectiveness swelled within. In an instant, I made a sign that read, "Caution! Dove Nesting," so that onlookers who entered the room would approach with care.

She is beautiful. The graceful lines of her body looks as though she had alighted from a Bernini statue and onto our fire escape. And I wondered why she came to us.

Did she know how badly I need nature in my life, or was she telling us that she was a symbol of the peace that was about to shroud our family and our world.

I was moved to (internal) tears by her presence, as if somehow she knew what I needed most at this point in my life.

"She looks bored" my husband said. Waiting for the most precious gift of my life, the birth of my daughter..... felt endless too, when all I wanted was for her to pop out, look me in the eyes and say "Hi Mom, I'm Laura."

I waited 9 long months to finally meet her and I wondered if this bird felt the same.

Somehow, she looked too perky and slender to be a mother. . . . too composed and confident.

When evening came, she looked like she had drastically fallen into ill health. She suddenly looked heavier, and very tired, a bird who had flown for many miles.

I tried not to approach the window too often, but couldn't get over the sudden change.

Fortunately, I read on this website, that males protect the egg(s) by day and the mother by night.

Knowing there was a changing of the guard was reassuring.

Last year when a red tailed hawk roosted in Riverside Park, many residents visited the nest each day, and for many weeks.

Some stayed for hours, watching with telescopes and binoculars, in order to catch a glimpse of red tailed hawk family life.. And what did the birds see when they looked down at us?

Humans, creating nests out of blankets, parents feeding their young, and the young taking short solo flights away from the nest accompanied by squawks from the parents.

I named the dove Eve. I hope she is happy on our fire escape and makes it her new home.

birds and blooms magazine cover pioneer woman magazine cover people-magazine cover first for women magazine cover
Birds and Blooms Pioneer Woman People Magazine First For Women

Comments for Dove on Fire Escape

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Oct 06, 2020
Love this piece
by: George Marks

Shows so much compassion and tenderness. How lucky you are to have had such a long relationship with this bird family.

Most are much shorter and don't really develop into a relationship - just a fleeting moment of pleasure.

Jun 25, 2012
Dove on Fire Escape moved in here also
by: Anonymous

I have just noticed a dove on the roof across the courtyard from my village apartment looking for twigs.

I saw her carry the twig to the fire escape below and looked as she took a nap.I then saw her busy again realizing this will be her new nest.

Another dove came by, hopped on top of her (too quick, no fluff so not mating I don't think) so my assumption is this is the male.

Yay! 2 doves nesting 15 feet away and I have a bird's eye (pun intended) view.

I searched to see if they nest on fire escapes and came to your post. I am not a bird person - although I have saved a few pigeons in my life by contacting the NYC pigeon rescue when they were in trouble - but since I had a dove lay an egg on my brick window ledge (no nest - really odd) when I was a young girl.

I feel they are lucky for me - a sign of love, peace, happiness and luck. I feel this is a gift just for me - I'm very excited!

I am still wondering if I should alert the people next time they open the window - but since they rarely do - maybe best not to mention it so the doves continue to have a peaceful home.

I'm concerned if they know it is there - they will be opening and looking often out of curiosity. Maybe I should leave the happy couple in peace.

May 24, 2011
finding an old friend
by: Renee

I live in a place where nature is a pretty common thing but I can still feel your delight and understand your need to protect the life that had managed to find the right place[in your heart]for a home.

I understand wanting so badly to intervene thinking you could find a way to help but finding the strength to hold back and trust. Beautifully written story.

Jan 25, 2011
Thank you
by: Anonymous

So good to hear that you liked the story. When the birds left the nest, a smiley bag from a chinese restaurant floated onto the fire escape that very day! It was magical. Good luck finding a feeder!

Jan 24, 2011
Love this story!
by: Meech

I'm researching bird feeders on fire escapes (and I live in NYC), and this is such a great little story!! Made me smile.

May 05, 2010
Hi Anonymous reader
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your feedback on the story. I am so happy you enjoyed it and wish you and your twin boys the best of luck!!!Even if they have flown the coop!

May 05, 2010
by: Katie

A lovely story.

May 05, 2010
Dove on fire escape!
by: Anonymous

What a beautiful and touching story.. and with a bit of humor! What a blessing. Best wishes for a healthy family!

I felt the same way when I had my Sons!! lol Especially when two came at the same time!!

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