Monday, June 02, 2008

Dover.


A few of you may remember my post from when we made birdhouses, and A had expressed interest in finding a special home for our friendly "Dover" - a mourning dove who has been visiting us for a few years now.

Over the weekend, we discovered that a mourning dove had made a nest in the hanging flower basket on our back deck. We were a little worried at first, since we use our deck a lot. We read and play and do crafts there, and the spot the dove chose is right at the stairs where we go in and out of the yard a LOT each day. But the bird seems dedicated, even with us passing by!

The boys are very excited, A in particular. Dover is his favorite bird, and from the haggard protruding tail feathers, we know it is our bird. A is excited that Dover has a partner. He wants to know all about doves and their nesting habits. We discovered many interesting things...

-Doves are not good nest builders, so will often place twigs or other materials to make a light barrier/nest in hanging baskets or on eaves where there is a support in place.

-Doves share nesting duties, so there is always a dove on the nest. We read that often the male will take day duty, the female night duty.

-Male and female doves look alike, so you may actually think that the same dove is sitting there 24/7 for weeks...but when they trade spots, there is time to eat/drink.

-Doves can be nervous and fly away, but will usually return to the nest quickly.

-Mourning dove nesting cycles are relatively brief about 28 days for the entire cycle. The first half is spent incubating the eggs (almost always two) while the second half involves brood rearing of young doves (called squabs). Doves may nest several times during the summer.

-Part of brood rearing involves feeding squabs on pigeon milk - a milk-like substance secreted by the crop gland of adult doves and pigeons.

The boys can easily watch Dover & partner by standing on their picnic table - so they spent a lot of time looking and talking to the bird yesterday. We had lawn work to do, and when the weed whacker came out the dove took off for a bit. That gave us enough time to take a peek inside, and sure enough, one tiny egg. The boys got to look at the nest and the egg and were very excited.


A wants some more books on doves so that we can be sure to "do the right thing" to ensure dover's success. We only have a few more weeks of waiting, I think, before we get to see the new arrival!


We have seen a few birds dragging twigs and grass into the painted birdhouses the boys made too, so I think we will have an exciting summer of birdwatching right here in our tiny yard!

24 comments:

Anet said...

This is so wonderful. What a great experience for the boys! We have doves the visit the bottom of our feeder, picking up dropped crums from the other birds. I felt bad, so I bought some cracked corn and pour a small pile for them. They have really enjoyed the corn. But we can bearly walk out on to the porch with out them fluttering away. If we are sitting quietly on the swing they will come to feed. They are sweet birds!

Tara said...

How exciting! I hope you'll share photos of the new little one when the time comes. We had some sparrows nesting in our flowers last year and it was great fun watching the goings-on every day.

Sharon said...

Mourning doves are my favorite birds, I love their soft mournful cooing. What a gift to have them living with you and how fun for the boys! If they are anything like our pigeons it is something to watch their bobbing up and down while they regurgitate their crop milk for the babies.

Are you going to let the plant go or do you think you can still water it?

denise said...

Sharon - We read that dove eggs are actually pretty fragile, and sensitive to water ... when the dove flew out for a few minutes over the weekend I slowly watered only the far edges of the plant away from the egg, but that probably won't be something we can easily do for the entire month overall. The boys and I discussed that we might have to let the plant go for the bird, so they know what to expect...

Holly said...

My little one is too young yet, but I do look forward to the day that we can learn together in this way. I love the pictures of the egg. I hope it's as easy to capture the chick when it arrives:)

Tammy said...

Oh how exciting! It will be so much fun the day the boys see a baby bird inside the nest instead of an egg. ;)

Emily says there is a robin's nest inside a hanging flower basket out at work. They tagged the flower with a tag saying, "Sold to Mrs. Robin" so that the customers would leave the plant hanging. But there have been so many people peeking into it that the robin left. Bummer....

Our Home Schooler and Jen said...

cool and i can imagine it would have been exciting
Jen

Michelle said...

Oh what fun. We have had a Mourning Dove pair return to our pine trees 3 years running. We are unable to see the nest though. You guys are a lucky bunch.

LisaZ said...

That's a cool looking nest--great photos. What a good lesson for everyone, too. I just love the Mourning Dove call, a sound I remember from my childhood. We have lots of them now, too.

And hey, thanks for linking to my blog! I feel very honored...

Lisa

Dawn said...

That's so exciting! Thanks for sharing the interesting facts about doves as well.

Kat said...

You've mastered your new camera!

That last picture is stellar - I love it.

Eluciq said...

Oh my goodness...what fantastic learning is taking place in your backyard...the photo's are beautiful.

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

How exciting for you all. Panda was helping her grandfather clean out the kids a frame tree house- built for my husband and his brother when they were little- and found a hummingbird nest. It was abandoned with 1 egg cracked and spoiled leaving 1 other glued perfectly inside.
Bird nests are so beautiful.
Enjoy your "Dover".

Lynch Family said...

We had a Mourning Dove pair build a nest in our gutter, right over the drain spout. Scott commented that it would never pass the perc test! LOL! We also had a pair nest in an old Christmas tree we had on the porch. It kept blowing over and our neighbor kept running over to right the tree. Amazingly the baby hatched!

This year we had baby robins hatch in the crook of a drain spout, they fledged about 2 weeks ago.

Great photos!

RunninL8 said...

Wow! That is SO exciting and what a great experience for the boys! Right there on your deck. How cool.
We painted some bird houses a few days ago, but I need to find out what kind of birds can be expected to nest in them around here. i suspect we may need to widen the holes. We'll see!

Emilie said...

It will be so interesting to watch what develops with this nest. Very fun!

And beautiful shots of the egg!

fivegreenacres said...

NO WAY!!!! I just posted on my blog about the bird(finch)that made a nest in our hanging begonias. That's just crazy. But neat. :)

so NOT cool said...

How cool.

However, I thought that the males had shinier neck feathers, sort of metallic-like.

At any rate, this is so neat!

Jessica said...

Before I read this post I only knew one thing about morning doves--I love hearing them "coo" in the morning! I also love those shots of the egg.

Lisa Anne said...

I love this post. We have been enjoying bird watching on the farm, we are always excited to check our bird book for a new bird we haven't seen before. The photos of the egg are great, they seem to have a glowing quality about them.

Lizz said...

That is the perfect spot! And a decent nest there. I'm surprised to see only one egg.

We've raised many doves over the years, they are wonderful! The squabs (chicks) are super funny looking with huge beaks.

Have fun you guys.

piscesgrrl said...

I love that picture of the nest in the flowers!

We had birds nest in our front porch light every spring. This year we finally replaced the light (they were able to nest in there because the fixture's panes were broken) and I miss being able to peek in there. It was a bit scary though, we had to be sure not to turn on the porch light lest we burn them out and/or start a fire!

Now that our trees are finally getting big, I see new nests all the time.

Karen said...

That is one classy bird if you ask me.

Beth said...

oh the doves are our favorites !!

we had some that nested in our flower box, when we lived in St.Louis. They came back and reused their small twiggy nest a couple of times and once those eggs hatched, the momma was always very calm and didn't mind us being around at all.

I have some of the best pictures from those wondeful birds !!!

Now in Wisconsin, I see them all the time but none of them are nesting anywhere near us....darn it !!!