Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our New Arrivals

For the past several weeks we have had a Mourning Dove sitting on a nest in the Carolina Jasmine by our front door.  During the winter, we frequently scare up a few roosting birds if we come home well after dark.  The house faces south so I guess the combination of the sun warming the air caught in the porch and the dense vines of the Jasmine makes it an attractive winter roost for the night.  And for the past couple of years we have had birds try to nest in it.  But since the Jasmine is right next to our front door, and only real access to the house, the previous nests haven't been successful.  It seems like the first two attempts were just nest building attempts and no eggs were laid.  Then last year we started seeing a female Cardinal sitting on one of the nests.  But she would flush nearly every time we would go in or out.  This lasted for over a week.  We never stopped to try and see if she had eggs but there were never signs of young and she soon moved on.

First sighting of the young taken through the window
Then this year we saw a Mourning Dove sitting on the other nest left in the Jasmine.  The Dove seemed much more sedate and accepting of our sharing the space.  As long as we didn't dwell on the porch, the Dove stayed on the nest.  About ten days ago we noticed that there started being some fecal packs dropped on the porch and that the Dove seemed to be sitting up higher in the nest.  Then the middle of this past week my wife saw the Dove out in the yard and some fuzzy heads in the nest.  It looked like they would be successful.  And then Saturday morning my wife noticed one of the young sitting on the edge of the fence around our front garden.  It sat rather precariously on the fence stringer.  We both attempted to get pictures through the front window but the glare off the window and screen made photos hard.  So I stepped out the front door and and was able to get a couple of photos without scaring the bird.  We saw an adult out in the middle of the yard but after a minute it flew up into a neighbor's tree.  At the same time the adult flew off, the young one dropped down into the garden and became well hidden in the foliage.

A clearer view from the front steps

The adult watching me from behind the tree
We opened up the front windows, it was nice weather too, so we could get a better view.  Through out the day we would check back and see the two young sitting next too each other and they kept moving a little at a time to stay in the shade.

This morning we saw the two young with the two adults, including one that was feeding the young.  Mighty nice to watch such an intimate encounter.  And throughout today the young have stayed in the garden again.  We saw them sleeping at dusk.

It appears Dove normally lay two eggs at a time so it appears we have a full brood.  But Doves can nest up to four times per season.  So maybe they will be back at after these young are strong enough to take off on their own.

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