Extra Dove Fledgling in Nest After Storm

by Bird Brain
(Richmond, Texas)

survivor waiting for momma after falling in October

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.

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Birds and Blooms Pioneer Woman People Magazine First For Women

Comments for Extra Dove Fledgling in Nest After Storm

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Jul 05, 2021
Fledgling Adoption
by: Anonymous

After a night of crazy fireworks here in LA, I found an extra mourning dove fledgling in the nest in my backyard. I immediately googled to see if this ever occurs and found this post. Mourning doves rock.

May 09, 2018
Love waking up to new neighbors out my bedroom window
by: Bruce

Very touching and helpful. Today I believe we now have a couple of new babies.

Unfortunately they have nested under the roof of my covered deck and I am concerned if I go out and enjoy it, I will disturb what wonderfulness mother nature has bestowed upon us.

For now I have other places outside to enjoy, while they grow their family.

Apr 20, 2018
by: Delaflower

So sad a hawk got the baby bird! Feel so sad, I have been watching this nest the last two months.

Apr 04, 2018
Watching one momma on nest with egg
by: Delaflower

It’s storming out and I’m so worried about the dove on my patio fireplace mantel in her nest with an egg in it. But she is weathering it out as the storm is almost over. Amazing.

Aug 27, 2015
What a Touching Story
by: Doves on my Deck

I really enjoyed your short story. You must work in creative writing! By the end of the story, I could hear your soft Texas accent as I read, as if you had completely left NYC behind and realized you were now home.

I loved how you spoke of your own adoption when you told of the babies outside your window. Very nice parallels. I now have a dove family of my own living in my flower box off the deck.

They have given me and my two young children great joy to watch every day. They have named them "Dovey and her husband." Thank you for sharing

Jul 11, 2015
Three eggs
by: Jeanette Neagu

Not sure why it happened but a mourning dove pair had a nest about two feet away from our screened in porch.

They didn't seem to mind me watching them and were never afraid.

I thought she was sitting on some infertile eggs as it seemed to me longer than than two weeks she was sitting there.

Well, checking out the nest one morning I saw three, not two, babies being fed by Mom or Dad. All three survived. One flew away about three days before the other two.

The last two flew away on July 11, 2015. Sorta miss them although I see them flying around and practice holding on to telephone wires.

I do hope we get another clutch as it is a wonderful experience seeing the babies so close to the house.

Apr 28, 2015
An extra fledgling
by: Anonymous

The same thing happened to me with an extra fledgling. I had found one egg in a nest when I startled a sitting parent.

I then watched the parents trade places, being "sat" on by one of the parents and then appearing as a fluffy hatchling.

I went out in the late afternoon today, saw the baby and the parent as usual, and then saw a fledgling about double the size of the hatchling down on the concrete floor. I had to catch it twice to save it from my cat outside.

I tried putting it in the nest but the sitting parent flew to the end of the shelf, away from the hatchling.

I put it in a small plastic bucket with a colander over it and called the bird connection. They told me to keep it warm with a heating pad under and to put a pillowcase over it.

The mystery is why would a hatchling appear at another nest?? Is it possible there were 2 eggs with one appearing afterward?


Apr 18, 2015
Human Scent
by: Gene

A beautiful story. You have a way with words.

I would just like to add for readers. It's an old myth that human scent will cause birds to abandon nest or young.

Most backyard birds have a very weak sense of smell using sight and hearing to find food.

While it's good not to handle baby birds and nest more than needed, your scent will not be a problem.


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