2021—Growing Up Fast!

The baby Mourning Doves are growing up fast. Just four days ago they had pin feathers and skin showing. Now they’re little fluff balls. As the chicks grow, Mama Dove sits up higher and higher on the nest, her charges barely fitting under her. I had a scare this morning. I noticed Mama Dove was not on the nest so I took the opportunity to peek in. Only one little chick was in the nest. Or so I thought. The nest is pretty cramped quarters on the edge of a hanging basket that has lots of scraggly vegetation left over from last year’s flowers that takes up most of the space. I assumed the worst and checked all around the nest to see if the one chick had fallen out. No luck. Then both parents landed atop the pergola from which the basket/nest hangs. They kept looking down toward the nest. Being inappropriately anthropomorphic, I assumed it was because they knew one was missing. Then Mama Dove flew to an iron bracket next to the basket and stared at the one chick in the nest for what seemed to me an eternity, finally hopping into the nest where the one chick eagerly began to feed. I went out with my Nikon D6 and Nikkor 500mmPF lens with an extension tube attached so I could be a little closer than the normal minimum focusing distance for the lens. And a second chick’s head emerged behind Mama Dove! What a relief. How that little bird could have been so hidden from view is a mystery. After feeding, the adult Doves both flew off and gave me an opportunity to photograph both chicks.