Bird Nursery in a Tree

Dove nursery in my yard

This tree has become a dove nursery

My neighbors have an oriental arborvitae tree, that looks to me like a tall bushy pine, which grows over my fence. It has become a nursery for different kinds of doves.

The first doves I noticed were two small blue and gray birds that kept flying in and out of a small entrance way among the branches with sticks in their beaks. They were building a nest I could not see, protected well by the tree. Later, I spotted tiny white broken eggshells that had blown 10-15 feet away from the tree. They were lying near a metal gate that led into a dog run and then into my back yard.

A few days later, I spotted a young mourning dove sitting under the juniper tree in my front yard. It didn’t look like the blue and gray doves I had seen building a nest, but I wondered if it might be one of their babies. It stayed under the tree for several days. Had the bird not learned to fly or couldn’t fly because of an injury or defect? It stayed under the tree for several days. I left it some water. Then one day it was gone.

A couple of days ago, I looked out my office window onto the side yard and saw a sight that made me happy. Strutting along the ground were two small blue and gray doves, a mother and father, followed by four baby doves, quite tiny, but moving very well. There was too much shadow for me to get a picture. Something startled the little ones, and they flew high into a nearby spruce tree. I keep watching for them but haven’t seen them since.

Yesterday, I noticed a larger dove, gray and white with darker tail feathers, fly into the nursery tree, a large twig in its mouth. I believe it was a mourning dove. It was building a nest! In a few weeks, I might spot some baby mourning doves taking a stroll on my lawn as they stretch their legs and try their wings. Who would have guessed my yard would become a dove nursery?

I have some concerns about that because doves are related to pigeons, which have an unsavory reputation for perching on rooftops and leaving a gray sea of messy droppings. I hope doves don’t do that.

Even as I worry about how I could ever clean up such a mess, I also look forward to witnessing the next family of doves stroll through my yard. It would be fun to watch little ones following their parents as they explore the new world into which they have hatched.

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