2021—New Life

While I was away, the Mourning Dove eggs hatched and there are two nestlings now! This is only the second time I have knowingly had a bird nesting in my yard and I am thrilled. Just before I left for Nebraska, I noticed a Mourning Dove settling down inside one of my hanging baskets on the patio. According to the book “Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings” the male and female Mourning Doves usually lay two eggs and share nest building, nest sitting, and feeding duties. The male sits during the day and the female has nighttime duty. The changing of the guard tends to occur late afternoon and when I took this photograph Sunday afternoon, it was almost 5PM so I don’t know if this is Mom or Dad. The adult had vacated the nest so I ran out hoping to see how many chicks were in the nest. One little head looked back at me! I didn’t want to disrupt anything so I went inside. When I looked out a few minutes later the adult had returned and was feeding two nestlings! I grabbed my Nikon D6 with the 500mm PF and went back out. Doves produce “crop milk” which they feed the young and these little guys were tanking up. They have just a little bit of down and feather follicles and mostly bare skin so they need their parents to keep them warm at least until they get some protection.

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