A Minor Diversion, Part 2

A few years ago — four, to be more precise — when we lived in Midland, a dove built a ramshackle nest (to our eyes; for all I know, it was a masterpiece of dovish architecture) atop a shelf on a wrought iron baker’s rack on our back porch.

At some point, Nature did its thing (cue Cole Porter) and the nest became the home of two pre-hatched dovelings, aka eggs, and a long-suffering mama dove.

Dove nest photographed at midnight without a flash; i.e. nothing to see hereBeing the voyeuristic naturalist wannabe that I am, I mounted a GoPro camera next to the nest and set it to take a photo every sixty seconds. I left it in place for a couple of days (and nights…which, as the picture at right attests, was less than, um, illuminating).

The result doesn’t exactly make for riveting, Oscar-worthy cinema. (Although, neither do most Oscar-winning movies nowadays, IYKWIM, but that’s another discussion for another day.) Even the mother bird looks bored most of the time, and a bit restless much of the time. I imagine it’s hard to find a comfortable position atop two orbs relatively the size of basketballs, in human terms.

She left the nest very rarely and then only for a brief period. Occasionally, the dad (I’m guessing) makes an equally brief period, probably just to say “aren’t you finished yet?” Despite the almost constant presence of the mom, I did manage to find a sequence of photos where the nest was vacated and the eggs were on full display. I pulled about 20 sequential photos out of the thousands that the GoPro generated, and made the following gif for your viewing pleasure. See if you can figure out what caused the mama dove to temporarily abandon the nest.

Animated GIF: Dove on nest with two eggs

Doves are notorious for building ridiculous nests in ridiculous locations. I’ve seen them on top of fences where there’s no protection, and on the end of palm fronds where they spring up and down at the slightest breeze, and, obviously, on back porches swarming with human activity. It’s a good thing doves are so prolific because I suspect only a very small percentage of eggs survive until they hatch.

But, bless their naive little hearts, they keep trying. Feel free to draw your own lesson from their example.