For the last five years, one of the joys of our courtyard and gardens here at home in Palm Springs has been the presence of our resident doves. Often to be seen in early evening perched atop one of our chimney stacks, or drinking at one of our fountains, or even in the shade under the bushes of our rose garden where they can find water from the automatic sprinklers, if they time it right.
It’s an annual event when each spring a couple returns to a Madagascar palm tree, planted in a large urn just outside our kitchen. Here they refurbish their nest from the previous year and get down to business. Once the mother bird has laid her two eggs, she is not to be budged from her nest. This year they were back again to their same tree, at the beginning of April. This particular tree is only a few feet from our house, and we can easily watch them from both the kitchen side door and from a living room window around the corner. It’s easy to tell when the parent birds come and go as they make a funny series of twittering sounds each time. We’ve been watching the parents come to the nest with food, and then the baby birds take it from the parent’s mouth. It always seems that the larger one gets the most food.
Here are the two baby birds in the nest with their mother on Tuesday night, last week at about 6 o’clock when I came home from work. I stood outside on a kitchen step about four feet from their nest to take their picture and they didn’t move at all, not even to blink an eye. A little later, the mother bird flew out and left them alone for a while. Then Wednesday night, she flew out and left them alone again. I felt sure that it was about time for them to fly and that she was preparing them.
Then Thursday night, at about the same time, 6 PM or so, the mother bird suddenly flew in and shooed the babies out of the nest. They flew a short distance and landed on our raised fire pit not far away. They sat there for a few minutes and then were gone, and I couldn’t find them anymore. The babies still have a mottled coloring in their wings to help camouflage them. Soon they will turn all gray like the mom and dad as they mature.
The next morning they were to be seen on the roof top and chimney with their mom, and they were practicing short flights. It’s such a miracle.