Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Mourning Doves and Babies

A pair of mourning doves decided to start a family in our back yard. They built a nest directly on one of the wooden crossbeams of our pergola. The nest and their activities could be seen, and photographed, through our back windows. They appeared to be aware of us, and seemed to accept us watching them.

We have climbing hydrangeas growing on that pergola. Fortunately, it was just early enough in the spring season that they weren't fully leafed-out yet, so the leaves didn't hide the nest too much. The leaves have since grown in, and there's no way to easily view the nest anymore. The young babies, called squabs, have since left the nest.

These first few shots are of the eggs in the nest. The quality of the photos is not ideal because they are taken through window screen and window glass. We were too concerned to remove the screen at first, because we didn't want to startle the birds. All the later photos are still through window glass - not best - but at least we managed to get the screen out of the way with no apparent negative consequences on the birds' activities.

I spent quite a bit of time post-processing most of these through-the-screen-and-or-glass photos in an attempt to improve their image quality.

Parent and Eggs #1

Parent and Eggs #2

Mourning Dove parents switch off during the day, both mother and father sharing the responsibility of keeping the squabs warm by sitting on them. This next photo was taken after one parent got off them, and before the other parent arrived.

Babies During Parent Switch #1

Keeping Babies Warm

Peeking Out

One of the parents waiting his or her turn to sit. I liked the tail pose.

Graceful Parent

Babies During Parent Switch #2

Babies (squabs) are fed Pigeon's Milk, also called Dove's Milk, which is regurgitated from the mother and the father. The parent can feed one or both squabs at the same time.

Babies Being Fed Dove's Milk

Eyes Wide Open

After the babies left the nest, the parents decided to visit our deck railing, adjacent to the pergola, the same spot where inception began. In fact, they had sex again, during this next sequence of photos. Deb, using my camera, took these railing shots through the kitchen window.

Parents Revisit Courting Spot

Fan Display

Kissy kissy

Face to Face

Mating happened next. Alas, shutter speed wasn't set fast enough to avoid blurry wings flapping, but honestly, I don't think anyone really wants to see any more detail than this. They are incredibly fast, by the way. This act serves a single purpose and they don't dwell;)

Making More Babies

Almost immediately after the above, we observed them having this intimate chat:

Intimate Chat

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