My Morning Doves

I've been watching these birds for the past three years. It all started when a momma Morning Dove laid eggs in a flower pot on our back porch. I watched as her and her partner cared for the eggs the entire spring. I even recorded their strength in protecting the eggs during a rainstorm on this video link. One day when the parents where out getting food, I snuck out to look in the nest and discovered two baby birds. Since they were so young, they didn't seem afraid of me. I quickly ran back inside, not wanting to scare the mother away.

Around this time, I invested in a bird feeder to put on my front porch so that I could ensure the little birds nutrition and encourage them to stick around. This fast became a spot for all the neighborhood birds to hang out.

Cam and I watched as the little birds eventually hopped out of their nest and then later learned to fly. It was particularly funny to see how one of the birds was struggling to learn to fly- as he/she sat on the ground, the mother and other sibling would stick close and then swoop down near him/her goading him/her to fly.

Eventually they outgrew the flower pot and moved somewhere near our house. I would see them perching on other rooftops, porches, a light pole, but they always kept close. It wasn't unusual for me to hear them swoop down above my head as I entered or left my house. I started to notice that they would walk around on the sidewalk whenever the food was empty, as if to alert me. Occasionally I'd catch the young birds sitting back in the old flower pot.

Since then they've had more children. At times I've seen 8 of them by the bird feeder. They are my most devoted birds as they are out on the porch regardless of food, water, or time of day...
When I am out walking in Tower Grove Park I wonder if I've sighted them. Apparently crows can recognize people, maybe mourning doves can as well. Some people say that they are not very smart birds but actually they were almost trained as passenger pigeons. They may be lazy builders but them seem to be caring and consistent family members.

These birds represent to me a connection to nature, to place. In an urban city where I have less green space, I'm energized by the way in which I can still participate in an animal ecosystem. They are like my wild pets. It gives me great joy to watch them grow and in my own way, I have a relationship with their bird family. The drawing at top I made in honor of the birds. I even taped a photocopy next to my window so that they might see.


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