This spring I’ve gotten a close encounter with what it is like to grow up as a dove. My husband and I were coming home from a small trip and there it was: a dove’s nest, just outside our door. This seemed like a ridiculous place to place a nest, but apparently, morning doves are famous for choosing poor places for their nests.
The two eggs
In the nest there were two eggs. Mama Dove would then spend the next two weeks diligently sitting on these eggs. Sometimes, Papa Dove would come by and take over for a moment. But it was mainly Mama Dove, and every time we walked in or out the door she would sit there staring at us.
One day Mama Dove was gone and left were these two little baby chicks in the nest. Had they been hatched for a while? Perhaps? Maybe squashed beneath mama? Anyway, these two adorable little things would now sit there all alone.
We got worried, did something happen to Mama Dove? Would we need to take over the role as surrogate dove parents? But apparently, doves often quickly create a new nest, hatching brand new eggs, while still having chicks in their first nest. Then they come back every now and then to care for their first batch.
Days went by and eventually, we did see Mama Dove back again. She would stand on the ground beneath the nest staring at her chicks and sometimes squawk. I think she was trying to encourage them to leave the nest — spread out their wings. But it was hard to tell what she was trying to communicate with those squawks.
Baby doves explore life outside of the nest
One day the nest was completely empty. Left were only these sad twigs and few plastic pieces they must have been used for softness. I thought that would be the end of the story but it was not. We quickly noticed that the baby doves were still hanging around in the garden, not far from the nest.
They would walk around on the ground with their little feet. They would sit around staring into the unknown. Sometimes we would see Mama Dove coming back to them. They would practically attack her as she was feeding them. It was quite disturbing to see, and a good reminder of how thankless being a mama can be in mother nature.
Being a teen dove
Eventually, we stopped seeing them around the nest. We again thought that was the end of the story. But again, it was not. Two weeks later we would see these two beautiful doves in the garden and understood that they must be the same birds.
Now they are still just sort of standing around in different places. Sometimes I see the two of them standing on a table. Sometimes they stand on a rock. They don’t seem to fly much. They just sort of stand around.
It reminds me of my own experience as a young teen. My friends and I would just kind of hang around. There wasn’t really that much to do in my small town at that age. So most nights we would just sort of walk around the neighborhood, sitting at different places.
The next step
What will be the next step in these doves’ life journeys? I’m curious to know, and hopefully, they will continue to stand around the garden because they are pretty cute to look at and a good reminder of the importance of just being.