They’re at it again…

I know by the husky, come-hither cooing that the Eurasian Collared Doves are once more wooing…

Three years ago, they discovered on the covered deck of my house, afixed to the boxy light fixture by the sliding door, a disused robin’s nest. Not as large as a dove’s nest ought to be, but a nest. So they laid a couple of eggs in it, and raised a brood of two, as Eurasian Collared Doves do. I took pictures of the nest, the eggs, the hatchlings… Eventually, the little ones flew.

As that time approached, we had one of those fiercely windy days this area is prone to, and I worried some about them being literally blown away to the next roof over. I put up a wall of reeds around that end of the deck, and around the front of it, to catch any little bird blown out of the nest. In fact, they were getting so big, they could only rest one atop the other in the nest. In my anxiety, I put some hay in a small basket and shifted them to it, They were not impressed, not by the new nest, not by my gentle handling.

They didn’t blow away, as it turned out, and the winds died down, and the dovelings soon flew by their own power out into the world. And that was that. I cleaned up the area they’d taken over, and moved back into that end of the deck. I missed them a little.

The next year, the parents were back, and again, set two eggs in the little nest. Again, they owned my deck for the 4-5 weeks it takes from egg to flight.

This year, they started early, but the old nest was simply not adequate. They always add a few twigs before setting eggs, and so it became smaller and smaller. The first attempt was a failure, one hatchling fell from the nest, the second egg never hatched.

My son and I had made a bigger nest for them, in fact–a cone-shaped garden basket–and hung it in a corner of the deck further from my door and interference, and still tucked up under the protective roof of the deck. It is in a corner where one or the other had often tucked itself up on a precarious perch.

After that first failure, they occupied the new nest and made it theirs.

They have raised now two broods in that nest since spring, and are currently weaving in new twigs in preparation for the next. Apparently, there is no brief breeding season for Eurasian Collared Doves: they have been observed to raise 4 or more broods over a summer, as many as 6.

I now share the deck, and they have somewhat accepted my puttering about, watering plants and shifting the garden about. I keep the cat indoors when the fledglings begin to consider leaving the nest, and take my photos from a little distance away. They are less wary of me than they were.

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