Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Ethel is a Momma!

I should begin this blog by saying that after my last post about Ethel, one of my friends informed me that she was a Mourning Dove and that they tend to be a little messy on the poop front.
Messy? I was not daunted. I have a 5 month old baby.
Messy is my life right now....and poop doesn't scare me. We have our own personal pooping machine living in the bedroom next door.
And how messy can a little bird be anyways?
The answer to that question is: VERY MESSY!
But I digress. I did a bit of research on Mourning Doves and found out that they mate for the summer, find a place to hole up, and then lay 2 eggs - 4 to 5 times during the summer.... 4 or 5 times?! Lovely.
Here I thought I would provide a loving environment for Ethel to have her babies, they would grow up, fly away and we would all be happy. Yes, I'm naive. But the good news was that if you remove a nest, Mourning Dove's will rebuild one elsewhere within 2-3 days.
Great. It was a plan. I would let her raise the munchkins she was currently working on, and then she could move on safely to another home to begin the next round.
So, periodically I have been checking on her and she was staying very close to home. And then amazingly one day.....little adorable baby hatchlings!
Ethel wouldn't let me near her to get a picture and you could barely see them nestled deep in the nest. But here are the little guys a mere week later!
What a wonderful experience. We watched her train the hatchlings to fly. She would take each one out individually onto the neighbors roof and then back to the nest. It was quite a site to see. And then last week we went out there and the nest was empty! Could it be true? Had they already grown to full maturity and begun their young rebellious years on their own?
Here I thought that little Alec was growing so fast that I can barely keep up trying to capture and savor every smile and precious moment....and Ethel's had 2 babies, taught them important life lessons and sent them on their way in the world in a mere couple weeks. Ah, they do grow up so fast don't they?
But since Ethel was out, and the children had begun their new lives....we removed the nest. One can only endure so much bird poop for the sake of new life you know.
Good luck Ethel and thanks for reminding me to take time out to enjoy every moment because life is too short...and someday Alec won't want to sit on my lap, making cooing noises and playing with his toes. He'll be out playing with his friends and growing into the man he's to become someday.


At June 02, 2005 12:47 AM, Blogger flick said...

The picture is cute as hell. So is the Ethel Saga.


At June 13, 2005 5:04 PM, Anonymous Nick said...

The Mourning Dove's Latin name is
"Zenaida macroura."

I also thought this was interesting:

Mourning Doves feed their nestlings crop milk or "pigeon milk," which is secreted by the crop lining. This is an extremely nutritious food with more protein and fat than is found in either cow or human milk. Crop milk, which is regurgitated by both adults, is the exclusive food of hatchlings for three days, after which it is gradually replaced by a diet of seeds.

And found out this as well:

The most abundant dove in the United States, the Mourning Dove is also the most widely hunted and harvested game bird. The name comes from the familiar, although easily overlooked song, a low-toned moaning cooah, coo, coo, coo. This dove, found across the United States and southern Canada, is most common throughout the Great Plains in the Midwest. In warm climates, these doves produce up to six broods per year, the most of any native bird. Typically, two eggs are laid in a nest made in an evergreen tree, although a wide variety of nest sites are used, including clumps of grass.

In winter, Mourning Doves prefer average minimum January temperatures greater than 10 degrees Fahrenheit; Rocky Mountain, Great Basin, and Great Plains birds may migrate to escape the cold. Mourning Doves also require a source of water; thus, peak abundances occur near rivers. In arid areas, large flocks visit water sources at dawn and dusk.

Mobile foraging flocks of Mourning Doves feed primarily on the ground, consuming waste grain—especially wheat and buckwheat—and weed seeds. Their crops fill quickly with seeds and digestion, aided by swallowed grit, occurs while the birds are resting, often in groups perched in trees or on wires. They readily come to feeders. Flocks are formed in every season, except while the birds are breeding—then, the birds disperse in pairs. When disturbed, Mourning Doves burst into strong, rapid flight on whistling wings.


Yes, I'm a geek, but because of Ethel, i learned a lot about morning doves... *smile*


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