This season we watched a cycle as old as time but still able to cause Burt and I (two ‘Oldsters’) to breathe deeply and pause to sit back in wonder.
A family of doves decided that the wall between my neighbor’s and my condo was an excellent real estate opportunity, and they set up housekeeping in a flower pot.
Now, I have to say that a true blessing in my life is having a wonderful couple, Mike and Lilia for next door neighbors.
I am doubly fortunate because Mike is an excellent guitarist, belongs to a band, and I am often treated to hearing him practice tunes.
I mean, animal lovers, terrific neighbors, and music! What more can I ask for?
But I digress—back to the saga of the dove family.
In a matter of days, the nest was established and mama dove sat serenely in the planter like a queen on her throne.
Not to be deterred from her responsibility, she was diligent and even put up with our presence in the backyards.
She would fix us with a steely stare and be immobile while guarding her precious family to be.
Mike and Lilia have a window box installed in their home which gave them a great opportunity to see and photograph the family which grew from two to four.
It was heartwarming to witness the dove couple trading places to keep their coming family covered and safe in rain and shine. They would coo and preen each other and steadfastly sit on their future progeny.
…And then there were two little eggs—soon to be tiny dove babies.
At this point I named them Needles and Pins because they were covered in little stick-like feathers.
And they grew!
I saw that mama managed to cuddle up next to her babies while giving them room to grow and look at the world around them for the first time.
We saw the valiant nature of the mother bird, always protecting her children even though we were in close proximity.
I always talked softly to her when I was in my yard or passing through to the garage, and she started to trust us. She never flew off of the nest when we were there, always the vigilant protector of her family.
At about two weeks, the babies discovered that their wings were capable of lifting them up if flapped at a high rate of speed, and this must have come as a revelation. The possibilities were endless!
I was privy to the first great leap of faith as they jumped out of the nest and onto my patio. They were ready to begin the journey.
They were now like mini versions of their parents, and their flying ability was very limited. I shot this photo through my back door.
The parent birds closely watched the babies from the top of my garage roof and flew down to feed them on the patio many times during the day.
There would be a few mouthfuls of food and then the parent would fly to the other end of my patio and wait for the babies to flutter after them…Good practice for later on.
Yesterday, Burt and I saw the babies fly up to my patio table and look around from this higher vantage point.
Suddenly, the first one and then the other flew to the top of the garage roof!
What courage it must have taken to break free from fear of the unknown and set out just on the belief that their wings would carry them. I think perhaps there may be an important lesson here for all of us.
We continued to watch as they gathered together all of their strength and confidence and flew to a tree across the way from my home to join their parents; ready to begin lives on their own.
It has been a privilege and an honor to give refuge to the family.
We enjoyed watching them grow, gain confidence in their wings, and leave the nest.
I wish them and all who are starting their own journeys luck, and may you all savor every cycle of life because it truly is a miracle and a gift.