Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nesting Dove

Hot, hot, hot! It's been over 100 degrees every day so far this week. Yesterday, while we were out early watering, I was giving our big yucca plant a little squirt--when all of a sudden, a dove flew up from the top. Her nest was completely invisible to me until that moment. She returned after a short absence. I went out this morning, and she let me take these pictures without budging.

Bill and I speculate that this dove has a superior I.Q. Most doves who nest around our house will pick any old spot (for example, an inches-wide ledge), throw a few sticks together, and look depressed when their eggs fall and break. We have never seen a nest this well hidden and protected. Plus, it's about 10 feet away from the backyard water dish--very convenient.

Now you see her, now you don't. Doves are the most abundant birds we have. Every day we witness dove battles, dove sex, you name it. They also sometimes seem to be posers. I wrote a poem about that this spring, back when the weather was still downright chilly, which I'll share here.

Ordinary Doves

The world is full
of ordinary doves
who arrive like
something they’re not—

Puffed up in the cold
to twice their size
and landing in a swirl
of feathers.

They sit perfectly still,
immovable—for once,
no fussing or fighting,
no cooing calls.

That one, on a rocky outcrop,
tries to imitate a hawk—
the hunch, the chiseled profile,
the turn of the head.

As the sun lifts higher,
he preens and fidgets,
the heat seeping into
his witless brain.

A vague hunger stirs.
There was something
he meant to do—
but what?

An ordinary day
with its petty battles
is already unfolding.

It’s time to descend
from the heights
and engage.