Walking along our driveway one morning in Mid-March, I noticed something odd in one of our blooming Forest Pansy redbud trees. As I stepped a little closer, I discovered a female mourning dove sitting on a nest, with purplish-pink blossoms all around her. I wondered how long she had been sitting on the nest before I noticed it? Five days later, I saw a little feathered head alongside the mother mourning dove. A day or two after that, I could see two babies – one on each side of her.
Through cold weather, blustery wind and pelting rain, the mother protected her offspring. I counted about a month’s-worth of days from the time I noticed the mother sitting, to the time her offspring fledged. I find that most fledglings flee the nest in early morning and both parents help to nourish the young ones in the days to follow. Some fledglings seem to venture right off into the trees as if they were born knowing everything about flight school. Others seem to struggle a bit, taking hours to finally get some lift and find a safe place off the ground.
Mourning doves are prolific here, and are present all through the year. I find myself marveling at their gentle resilience. Sometimes as I walk through the woods, I do not notice a flock of them sunning in the trees until they burst into flight, with wings making a slight whinnying noise as they head skyward. They are great seed foragers, often seen toddling along the ground looking for nourishment. They close the day with soft cooing calls heard throughout the woodland, often sounding sad or mournful. Their presence and message of gentleness is always welcomed and appreciated here.
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